CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — A 17-year-old who is facing charges for the murder of his mother will be tried as an adult, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office announced on Saturday.
Denise Hallowell, 57, was killed in July in what authorities call a "horrific" and "heinous" crime. Her son, Carlos Hallowell, 17, was arrested and charged with premeditated murder on September 16.
Carlos told authorities he was sleeping when the crime happened, only to be woken up by their barking dogs, according to the sheriff's office. Authorities say he called 911 when he discovered his mom's "brutally" murdered body.
The sheriff's office says nine weeks of investigation revealed "hidden digital evidence" that paved the way for the arrest.
Authorities have not provided details on how Denise was killed or the evidence linking Carlos to the crime.
Sheriff Mike Prendergast says the decision to prosecute Carlos as an adult is the first step in a long process.
“This is just the first step of a lengthy court process,” said Prendergast. “I am proud of the dedicated men and women of our agency who worked hand in hand with prosecutors, and who diligently investigated all the facts surrounding this case to bring us to today’s results.”
Carlos was in custody at the Department of Juvenile Justice following his arrest and up until Saturday, when he was moved to the Citrus County Detention Facility.
Denise was arrested in 2015 after she was accused of child abuse. Authorities at the time called it "one of the worst cases of child abuse detectives have seen in a while." However, the charges against Denise were later dropped by the State Attorney's Office.