Highlands County, Florida – We have some tragic news. The body of 5-year-old Chance Peterkin was located in the water of Lake Lelia.
Sheriff Paul Blackman, who had been on a boat searching for several hours, located Chance in the water around 12:20 a.m., ending an extensive search of the area in and around the lake.
The search involved deputies on foot and ATVs and multiple K-9s scouring the heavily wooded area around the lake. Multiple boats from the HCSO and the FWC searched both Lake Lelia and Lake Glenada.
A FLIR-equipped drone and a Polk County Sheriff’s Office helicopter also conducted aerial searches, both of which failed to locate a heat signature during the search.
Chance and his mother, 29-year-old Philletta Moransit were reported missing around 6 p.m. Thursday evening after having not been seen since around 9 a.m., when they left a home on Purcell Street on foot.
Moransit was located shortly before 8 p.m. on the campus of South Florida State College, but was uncooperative with the investigation.
Deputies located some of her clothing near the water, which focused the search area on the eastern side of the lake.
The investigation is continuing and charges on Moransit are pending.