St. Pete Police look for missing 14-year-old murder suspect, Franco Harris Thomas

5:41 PM, Jul 31, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida-- He's 14-years-old, and tonight he's wanted by St. Petersburg Police.  The crime? First degree murder. 

Police say Franco Harris Thomas and two other teenagers robbed and murdered a 20-year-old St. Petersburg College student earlier this month.

"My heart is broken," says Christine Mayers, Jeremy Mayer's mother.  She adds, "Our lives are forever changed. I can't sleep at night I can't eat. I expect to see my son jeremy's big beautiful face coming through the door and giving me a hug saying 'hi mommy.'"

Christine speaks of her son Jeremy, the third oldest of four sons. The 20-year-old was a college student, a musician and song writer,and he loved to restore antique cars. He was a kind and trusting soul. "By trusting people, he is not with me anymore," says Christine.

Police say on July 8, 16-year-old Brittany Detwiler and Scionti Hill beat Jeremy with a shotgun, strangled him and stole his cell phone, his wallet and car. 

The two are under arrest, but Police are now looking for a third suspect, 14-year-old Franco Harris Thomas. Police say Franco's parents agreed to turn him in after the indictment two weeks ago.

We asked a woman at Thomas's last known address if she knows where he is. "No I don't know," she responded, and then she quickly entered her car and drove off.  

Police say Thomas and Detwiler met on a social media site. Police found Jeremy's body later that morning on the front lawn of a home on Sea Robin Drive NE during an unrelated traffic stop.

Police spokesperson Mike Puetz says investigators have tried working with the parents but have not given him any breaks because of his young age. "Regardless of age, First Degree Murder is the ultimate crime," says Puetz.

Mike Puetz with the St. Petersburg Police Department says investigator's hands are tied. "The parents are not cooperating. We don't have outside information the person is in the building or someplace else, so there's no way we can force a search of it."  

Jeremy's mother says it's time for Thomas to stop running. "Please just go on and turn yourself in, and the truth will come out. There's nowhere to hide. Think of your mother; she's hurting. Think of me; I'm hurting."

All three teens are being charged as adults. Police say there is a reward for information leading to Thomas's arrest. How much depends on the information provided. 

Thomas stands at 5'6 and weighs about 170 pounds. Anyone with information should call the homicide unit at the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780.


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