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Reward increased to $30K in case of 3 friends slain at Florida lake

Three days after three friends were slain while getting ready to fish at a lake in central Florida, the reward for information on a suspect in the case has grown to $30,000.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who has worked at the department since 1972, described the killings at a Frostproof lake a “massacre.” He said the men were beaten and shot.

“This is a horrific scene,” Judd said at a news conference Saturday near Lake Streety where the bodies were found. “I’ve been to a lot of murder scenes in my life, and this ranks among the worst.”

Killed were Damion Tillman, 23; Keven Springfield, 30; and Brandon Rollins, 27.

Judd said this is what investigators believe happened: Tillman arrived at the lake first to meet his friends for “night fishing” for catfish. When Rollins and Springfield arrived, they saw Tillman being beaten. The attackers then began shooting them.

Rollins was still alive when the attackers left and called his father for help. His father rushed to the fishing spot about 10 minutes away but forgot his cellphone in the hurry to help his son. He drove to a nearby convenience store, and the clerk helped him reach authorities, but by the time they arrived, Rollins had died.

Judd wouldn’t say what information Rollins shared with his father before he died, but said they did have a conversation. He also did not say whether authorities have identified any suspects, but noted that his department is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of the killers. He said investigators believe more than one person was involved in the slayings.

Judd also wouldn’t speculate on whether the attackers knew the victims, although he also suggested it wasn’t a random attack.

“You don’t just stumble upon somebody out here. This is a dirt road, a clay dirt road, way out in the middle of what we call God’s country, on the way to a nice little fishing lake. It’s not like there’s a lot of people around here. As you can see, it’s cow pastures and lakes,” he said.

Judd said Monday that investigators do not believe it was a drug deal gone bad or a domestic event.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact PCSO at 863-298-6200. Heartland Crime Stoppers is offering a $30,000 cash reward for information that leads to the arrests of the suspects responsible. Call 800-226 TIPS (8477).

Author: BRENDAN FARRINGTON / AP
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