SANFORD, FL – The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida is currently conducting an investigation into a tragic incident involving the untimely death of a mother and her two young twins. Sheriff Dennis Lemma addressed the media during a press conference on Friday, shedding light on what authorities believe to be an isolated case of murder-suicide.
According to Sheriff Lemma, the incident unfolded in the early hours of Friday morning when deputies received a distressing call from an eyewitness who had observed a motorist stopping their vehicle on the crest of the SR-417 bridge. The caller reported witnessing a woman exiting the passenger window of her vehicle and plunging into the St. Johns River in an apparent attempt at suicide.
When the authorities came to the scene, deputies discovered a woman floating in the river. Two nearby fishermen, one of whom was an off-duty Seminole County firefighter, provided assistance. The victim was later identified as 31-year-old Catorreia Hutto, who was only days away from her 32nd birthday.
As the press conference unfolded, Sheriff Lemma emphasized that Hutto had no known history of such behavior. Hutto resided on the same street with her two children, 5-year-old twins named Ahmed and Ava Jackson. Deputies, investigating Hutto’s death, entered her home and initially found the twins appearing to be asleep. Tragically, they were later confirmed to be deceased.
Sheriff Lemma expressed the chilling juxtaposition of events, stating, “Mom jumps off the bridge, commits what’s obviously now a suicide, and what looks to be a homicide that is contained within this house.”
Deputies conducted a welfare check on the children, which revealed no signs of physical harm, but they did discover a firearm on the bedroom floor along with live rounds scattered about. Moreover, the home appeared to have little food and furniture, suggesting potential financial struggles for the family. Sheriff Lemma noted that the house was constructed in partnership with Habitat for Humanity but clarified that this fact may not have played a role in the tragedy.
Hutto’s last communication was a phone call to her mother, which went unanswered. Officials interviewed Hutto’s mother, who assumed the call was from one of the children and did not return it. The Florida Department of Children and Families was also on the scene and confirmed no prior contact with Hutto or her children.
As the investigation unfolds, authorities are struggling to find any indicators that Hutto was feeling suicidal, homicidal, or in desperate need of help. Hutto’s mother mentioned her daughter’s lifelong battle with depression, but no one could have predicted this level of violence towards her children or her tragic demise.
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