‘Who Hurt Darius?’: Florida Family Searching for Answers After 13-Year-Old Boy Found Dead In Woods Near a Walmart

A Florida family is searching for answers after a 13-year-old boy was found dead near a Tallahassee Walmart.

Darius Swain, 13, was last seen on July 23 in Tallahassee. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began an investigation on July 24 and issued a Missing Child Alert for the teen on the 25th. But late in the night of July 25, the body of a child was found in a wooded area near a Walmart on West Tennessee Street. Authorities publicly confirmed the body as Swain’s on Aug. 3.

Now Swain’s family is searching for answers. The teen’s father, Derrick Swain, told the Tallahassee Democrat investigators said his son died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“I don’t understand,” Derrick said. “He was such a happy kid. He would never do that.” Swain was looking forward to his upcoming eighth grade year at Sanford Middle School in the fall. The teen lives in Sanford, Florida, with his mother but was in Tallahassee to visit his father and aunt over the summer.

According to family members, Swain walked to the Family Dollar on Blountstown Highway in the afternoon hours of July 23 and was not seen alive afterward. He had been playing basketball in the area before setting out to make the trip to the store.

On Aug. 5, the family held a vigil at the Family Dollar where Swain was last seen alive. Swain’s aunt played a video at the vigil of her nephew laughing.

Darius Swain, 13, was last seen on July 23 in Tallahassee. (Photo: iCkEdMeL/YouTube screenshot)

“This video right here shows a child laughing, a child dancing, a child having fun, a child enjoying life,” LaToya Grier, a friend of the family, said. “This video does not show a child who is hurt, or a child that wanted to harm itself. So regardless of what the people, what you hear in the streets, what people are telling you, we want justice for Darius, and we will not stop until justice is served for Darius.”

One sign held by an attendee at the vigil read, “Who Hurt Darius?” The family is challenging the Tallahassee Police Department’s conclusion that no foul play was involved in the teen’s death. The department hasn’t shared what information led them to believe no foul play was involved in Swain’s death. The teen’s cause of death has not been confirmed.

Spokesperson Heather Merritt said the investigation remains “open and active” as authorities wait to receive outstanding reports.

When family members initially began searching for Swain, they noticed that a gun that belonged to his uncle was also missing from the home where Swain was staying. The family says the gun was found with Swain’s body but police haven’t confirmed if a weapon was discovered from the scene.

Swain has been described by family a a music lover and talented musician who had been looking forward to playing in the orchestra with bandmates this school year.

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