Fredrick Matthew Lochridge, 15, was arrested Sunday in the murder of his 10-year-old sister, Isabella Heffernan, after she was reported missing by her family and was later found behind her home in Fountain.
According to an arrest affidavit released this afternoon, Lochridge, who was initially said to be 16 years old but is actually 15, admitted to shooting Heffernan with a .22 caliber rifle at around 3am on Sunday.
During an interview with police, the teenager offered investigators conflicting versions of events, initially claiming that he shot the girl after mistaking her for a deer.
He later changed his story, saying he fired the gun because he thought someone was attacking his sister but struck her instead.
In a third statement, the 15-year-old said he was teaching Isabella how to use a firearm when he accidentally shot her in the chest.
When the mortally wounded grade-schooler started making gurgling noises, Lochridge said: ‘I didn’t know exactly how to deal with that, so I shot her again,’ according to the affidavit cited by MyPanhandle.com.
The 15-year-old initially hid the rifle used in the killing but later told deputies where to find it.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said they are not ruling out sexual battery preceding Isabella’s killing.
McKeithen said that interviewing 15-year-old Fredrick Lochridge was not like talking to a child but talking to a 30-year-old murderer, reported the station WCTV.
‘He was a hard core kid,’ the sheriff recalled. ‘He lied. He was deceitful. He screamed. He cursed.’
Isabella Heffernan was last seen alive at around 10pm on Saturday when she went to bed at her family’s home on Nonawood Road.
Isabella’s family reported her missing shortly before 11.30am the following morning when they discovered she had vanished.
Sheriff’s deputies accompanied by a K-9 unit, a mounted posse and an air unit launched a massive search in the area surrounding the family’s house.
Shortly before 4.30pm, Isabella’s lifeless body was found in a field behind her home.
Sheriff McKeithen revealed that during the search for Isabella on Sunday, Lochridge’s father became suspicious that his son may have had something to do with her disappearance.
The man, also named Fredrick Lochridge, confronted the 15-year-old and handcuffed him, but he failed to tell deputies about what happened.
The local sheriff’s office is familiar with the Lochridge family, McKeithen told reporters.
Fredrick’s mother, Michele Lochridge, is currently serving a prison sentence after being convicted of accessory after the fact to second-degree murder in the 2011 killing of Port St Lucie attorney Ashley Pollow, who was her boss.