Boat seized in connection with hit-and-run that killed Florida teen: Authorities

Written by on May 16, 2024

Adler Family

(NEW YORK) — Authorities in Florida said they have seized a boat believed to be connected to a hit-and-run that killed a teenager wakeboarding in the Miami area over the weekend.

Ella Adler, 15, was struck by a boat while wakeboarding near Nixon Beach in Key Biscayne Saturday afternoon, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

The teen had fallen in the water while being towed about a mile from shore and was waiting to be recovered by her boat when another vessel fatally struck her, Reynaud said. The boat that struck the teen did not stop, FWC said.

Following a dayslong search, FWC said Tuesday it has a boat matching the description given by witnesses of the striking vessel in their custody. The 42-foot Boston Whaler has been transported to an FWC evidence compound, the agency said.

The boat’s owner and operator — identified as a 78-year-old man from Coral Gables — is cooperating with the investigation, FWC said. No charges have been announced in the case.

FWC had called in additional resources and “worked around the clock” to find the vessel, FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said Tuesday.

“As a father and grandfather, my heart is broken for the Adler family,” Barreto said in a statement. “Ella’s death is devastating for her family, friends and the community at large. The FWC and our partner law enforcement agencies will not stop until we have all the answers and the case is solved.”

The investigation remains ongoing. FWC called for anyone with information or footage to contact them.

“The world lost a star this weekend. Ella was beautiful and shined brightly. In her 15 years she gave us more light than we could have ever dreamed,” her parents, Amanda and Matt Adler, said in a statement to ABC News. “While we cope with this unspeakable tragedy, we hope the public will help us find the person who took her from us.”

Ella Adler was a student at Ransom Everglades School, a college prep day school in the Miami area. The school described her as an “outstanding student, a wonderful dancer and an active member of the Jewish Student Association and speech and debate team.”

“Our hearts are broken and our community has been devastated by this tragedy,” the school said in a statement. “Ella shined in our classrooms and on our stages, and she embodied the mission of Ransom Everglades School.”

Adler was a ballerina who appeared in more than 100 performances with the Miami City Ballet, according to her obituary, which called her a “star” and “force of nature.”

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