WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - Winter Springs police said they have identified the suspects accused of gang-raping a 16-year-old girl in the woods near Winter Springs High School Thursday.
According to Police Chief Kevin Brunelle, detectives worked over the weekend to identify several Winter Springs students involved in the alleged incident.
"All we had were first names, maybe some street name or some nicknames," said Brunelle. "So once we shored all of that up and were able to identify the ones that were involved, we were able to start the interview process and go out and try to find out what happened."
Brunelle said he knows who the students are, but wants to make sure the case is rock solid before pulling them out of school.
"That is a very serious charge that the state of Florida takes seriously, that the city of Winter Springs takes seriously, the state attorney's office takes very seriously and can, and more than likely mar someone's future for the rest of their lives," Brunelle said.
Channel 9's Tim Barber was told there are five boys at the center of the investigation.
According to police, the alleged incident happened in a wooded area near Winter Springs High School off State Road 434 and Tuskawilla Road between 3-5 p.m.
Police said the girl told them she knows two of those involved and that it’s unclear if the other alleged attackers also attend school with the victim.
In a note to parents, the school’s principal said: "It is with a heavy heart that I share information regarding the alleged sexual assault..." and "...the safety of our students while on our campus is our top priority."