Suspect connected to death of Demiah Appling not being charged with murder

The State Attorney for Dixie County says there is not sufficient evidence to charge the minor with first-degree murder
The State Attorney for Dixie County says there is not sufficient evidence to charge the minor with first-degree murder
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 5:16 PM EST
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OLD TOWN, Fla. (WCJB) - Two months passed between 14-year-old Demiah Appling’s disappearance from her home in Old Town in October and when Police located her remains in Gilchrist County.

In her home town, frustration is high.

One resident who lives near the area where Demiah Appling’s body was discovered, and he shared his thoughts on the police’s investigation

“When I go to south Chiefland to get a haircut or my beard worked on,” said Phillip Dunn, “there’s a lot of talk in there. Lot of fellas talking about it, etc. Etc. But I’m right there by the spot...And I just don’t understand why it took so long.”

19-year-old Waymore Gerhardt was indicted on first degree murder charges by a grand jury.

“The grand jury is the only body that can charge first degree murder,” said Florida District 3′s state attorney, John Durret. “They were brought to consider the evidence that exists at this point to be instructed on the applicable law and to render a decision as to whether or not the evidence at this point warranted that charge of first degree murder, and ultimately, an indictment was returned.”

However, the other person connected to the death is a 15-year-old who has not been charged with murder.

The state attorney says they do not have the evidence to charge him with first degree murder.

“(The 15-year-old) has been formally charged with tampering with evidence,” said Durret, “and as it relates to an indictment, an indictment for a juvenile can be only for a first degree murder charge, or an offense punishable by life in prison, therefore the charge was filed directly by the state attorney’s office.”

Dunn believes the suspect is getting off easy.

“That’s wrong,” he said. “That person was part of it with the other guy and even though he’s a minor he should be charged just like an adult.”

“[The investigation] just wasn’t thorough enough,” Dunn continued. “In other words, after that I know there wasn’t much left of her remains, cause she’d been in the swamp there since what? October, November? How much of an effort was put in to discover the girl, it sure took a long time.”

RELATED: ‘We truly hoped that wouldn’t be the case’: Private investigators reveal details on Demiah Appling homicide

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