Arrest linked to murder of 16-year-old Brunswick High School football player

Brunswick has seen a worrying increase in violent incidents, with two dead and four injured in the past three weeks alone. The community is grappling with the aftermath of these harrowing events, prompting residents like Nygel Ryals to express their deep apprehension over the rising violent crime rate.

The latest victim, Robert Slay, 35, was fatally shot at a residence on I Street earlier on Wednesday.

Just last week Mykal Ellis, 16, was shot dead in Johnston Street as he was walking home to a friend. The previous week, two other people had been victims of gun violence on the same street.


Brunswick Police have made an arrest in connection with the murder of Mykal Elliz, 16, the Brunswick High School football player who was killed on June 13.

Action News Jax’s Ben Ryan asked family members how they were doing.

Family members would not speak on camera, but said they were somewhat relieved to know someone was in custody connected to the case. However, they are still looking for justice while the police are still looking for the man accused of murder.

Diandra Hightower, the 37-year-old suspect, is behind bars and charged with tampering with evidence and making false statements. It’s directly related to the murder of 16-year-old Mykal Ellis. The Brunswick Police Department said she was associated with Breon Hartley – who has a murder warrant in the case.

“Our investigation revealed that they are connected, so we are confident that they know each other,” said Angela Smith, PD of Brunswick.

The Brunswick High School football player was shot while walking home from his friend’s house, a short walk from his home. Police said he was not the intended target. Family members said he dreamed of playing in the NFL one day.

“He didn’t deserve this, he didn’t deserve everything. He was so humble, sweet and cheerful. Her smile could light up a room,” a family member said.

Action News Jax is still working to get a photo and arrest report for Hightower.

Hartley would still be on the run and would be considered armed and dangerous. Angela Smith with the Brunswick PD wouldn’t go into further detail about Hightower and his alleged involvement.

“We’re going to let him take the time that the investigation leads us to take him into custody,” Smith added.

Smith also mentioned that Mykal’s mother wanted everyone to lay down their arms.

“She doesn’t want another mother to sit in her place and have to bury her child,” Smith said.

Smith urged anyone with any information to speak up, saying it can go a long way.

The current goal is to raise $10,000 to help the family with funeral costs.

Smith said the victim assistance program paperwork is in the works, but it may take some time. There’s a GoFundMe, and others have gone straight to the funeral home to donate.

As Brunswick grapples with this series of violence, the determination to restore peace and security remains at the forefront of everyone’s mind.\

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