ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 has learned that more than a dozen Orange County deputies responded to reports of shots fired near Curry Ford Road on March 17, but did not find three shooting victims. The three were discovered the following day.
"I could still have even one or two of those people as friends would be a complete blessing," said Jarib Martin, friend of the three shooting victims.
Debbie Watson, Todd Lemme and Richard Button were shot to death and left in the barn they'd been living in near Curry Ford Road.
One was found slouched over in a chair, another lay on his side and Debbie Watson was sitting with a phone in between her legs.
More than two weeks after their deaths, Orange County Sheriff's deputies arrested Leonard Lewis, who was friends with the three.
Details in a new report reveal that the night Watson, Lemme and Button were killed, deputies actually had Lewis "secured in handcuffs."
Watson was able to call 911 and report that one of her friends had been shot.
"My question is why,
why did they let him go? " said Martin.
According to the report, detectives came to the property the night of the shootings and talked to Lewis, who they say was drunk and told them,
The report said of Lewis, "his pants were soaking wet up to above his knees."
According to investigators Lewis gave no explanation for the wet pants, but told deputies he hadn't heard any shots.
A sheriff's representative said that deputies had no reason to detain Lewis that night and let him go.
"They really missed the boat on this one," said Martin.
It was later discovered that on the 911 call, Lewis can be heard in the background saying, "Another one dead."
When he was eventually arrested, Lewis was charged with three counts of first
"They had everything in their hands and they just let it go," said Martin.
The bodies were discovered in the barn by someone walking by.
Martin said it is still tough to take in, and he just wonders what would have happened if deputies had searched a little more. He believes that maybe his friends could have been saved.