Man charged with murder after missing 18-year-old found dead in swamp

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — A Lakeland man is facing first-degree murder charges after deputies said a missing 18-year-old man was found dead in a Sumter County swamp.

Deputies said David Gracia, of Lakeland, turned himself into the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office after the body of Charlie Roberts Jr. was found in the Green Swamp Wildlife Management Area off of State Road 471 on Wednesday.

READ: Search for missing teen to resume in Flagler County

Green Swamp WMA encompasses more than 50,000 acres throughout Sumter, Polk and Lake counties

Deputies said Roberts Jr. was last seen with Gracia in Lakeland on Tuesday. A family member of Roberts Jr. later reported him missing.

READ: 10-year-old boy has hands, legs amputated after MIS-C, COVID-19 diagnosis

Investigators said preliminary reports show he was shot to death.

READ: Police reveal motive for double murder-suicide that left 3 coworkers dead at a Tavares home

Deputies said Gracia is being held without bond pending trial.

Deputies said anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at 352-569-1680 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS(8477).

Arrest in Murder Case The Sumter County Sheriff's Office announces the arrest of David Anthony Gracia of Lakeland,...

Posted by Sumter County Sheriff's Office-Florida on Friday, February 26, 2021

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.