PALMETTO -- The Palmetto Police Department conducted a search Wednesday morning of the vehicle involved in Kyle O'Halloran's death. Police said no personal items of O'Halloran's were uncovered and would not comment on whether marijuana was found.
Police said 18-year-old O'Halloran's death was the result of a botched drug deal, when suspect and driver Roberto Betancourt, 20, pulled into O'Halloran's driveway at 5 p.m. Christmas Day with two passengers. They were looking to buy marijuana from O'Halloran, police said.
O'Halloran approached the vehicle and presented a small amount of marijuana to Betancourt and the passengers, who passed it around to smell it, according to police reports. Betancourt then accelerated out of the driveway without paying for the marijuana, and O'Halloran grabbed onto the vehicle, according to reports.
Betancourt knew O'Halloran was holding on to the vehicle yet kept speeding up as he turned out of the driveway, going above the posted speed limit, police said. O'Halloran lost his grip and fell about a block from the house, and Betancourt did not stop the car. O'Halloran died as a result of head trauma, according to an autopsy performed Friday.
Leann O'Halloran, Kyle's mother, has denied her son was trying to sell marijuana. She said they were trying to rob the O'Hallorans and the passengers held O'Halloran to the side of the car in order to steal a gold necklace and sapphire earrings he was wearing. She said she knew O'Halloran was wearing jewelry when he approached the car, and it was not on his body
after the incident.
Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells said those items were not found in the car. They are still investigating but police say Betancourt did not go home in between the incident and his arrest based on interviews with those involved.
Wells said he could not reveal whether drugs were found in the vehicle.
The O'Hallorans held a vigil for Kyle on Tuesday night, remembering him as a smart, funny and motivated young man. He had a 4.0 grade-point average at Palmetto High School where he played as a fullback, offensive guard and linebacker for the Tigers football team.
He was engaged to Palmetto High School graduate, Darrian Szabo, and was the father to a 3-month-old baby girl.
The O'Halloran funeral at the First Baptist Church of Palmetto will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday with a viewing from 1-2:30 p.m.