‘Vessel of interest’ seized in boating hit-and-run death of 15-year-old girl in Florida

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‘Vessel of interest’ seized in boating hit-and-run death of 15-year-old girl in Florida

Florida investigators identified and seized a “vessel of interest” possibly connected to a Key Biscayne boating hit-and-run in which a 15-year-old girl died, officials said Tuesday.

Relying on accounts from witnesses, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were able to quickly identify “a vessel that fits the description” of the boat that allegedly struck Ella Riley Adler on Saturday and did not stop, the commission said in a statement.

As of Tuesday, investigators said, the craft was “in their custody” and the “owner of the vessel is cooperating with the investigation,” according to the fish and wildlife commission.

The commission had previously described the craft in question as a center console boat with a light blue hull, possibly with blue or dark blue bottom paint.

It did not name the boat’s owner Tuesday.

A view of Key Biscayne, Florida, at sunset with boats on the water
Nixon Beach in Key Biscayne, Fla. NBC South Florida

“Our community suffered a great loss this Mother’s Day weekend,” Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto said in a statement. “I would like to thank all our officers and those from various law enforcement agencies who have worked and continue to work tirelessly on this investigation.”

Adler was waterskiing at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday near Nixon Beach in Key Biscayne when she was struck, officials said. That boat was last seen heading west from Nixon Beach.

Barreto said he was particularly saddened by this deadly accident.

“As a father and grandfather, my heart is broken for the Adler family,” he said. “Ella’s death is devastating for her family, friends, and the community at large. The FWC and our partner law enforcement agencies will not stop until we have all the answers and the case is solved.”

A representative for the Adler family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

David K. Li

David K. Li is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

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