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Teenager's Murder Shakes Seagrove Community

Residents and tourists, staying near the Beachcrest Condominiums where 15-year old Courtney Wilkes was vacationing with her family, were shocked by the news of her murder on Thursday.

"I mean it's just that kind of place, nothing happens here, until last night," said Rusty Wharton.

But in the quaint Seagrove Community, Wharton's backyard turned into a crime scene.

Sheriff's investigators found the teenager's body in this wooded area behind Wharton's house on Cypress Grove Lane.

"I asked him what happened, and he said, 'well, you want to know?' and I said, 'no'. He said, 'are you a Christian?' I said, 'yeah'. He said, 'it was that bad.'"

Investigators went door-to-door again Friday, showing pictures of Wilkes and talking to anyone who may have information about the case.

One woman, who did not want to be identified, says she saw Wilkes and the suspect, 21-year old Steven Anthony Cozzie walking together just an hour before Wilkes' mother reported her missing.

"I had seen him walking on 30-A, walking west towards Seaside and then about an hour after that I saw him walk past my front door with a girl in a bikini."

Learning, now, about Wilkes' fate has been disturbing for some.

"I wonder what I could have done if I had known. She was still alive when I saw them."

Thursday night, authorities said they were questioning two persons of interest. One was Cozzie. The other turned out to be Cozzie's friend, who investigators say is the one who cooperated with them.


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