Crime

Deputies: Lakeland teen tried to burn, kill family

LAKELAND -- A 16-year-old Lakeland boy has been charged with three counts of attempted murder after the Polk County Sheriff's Office said he allegedly tried to burn his family to death while they slept.

Deputies said the teen poured gasoline throughout his parents house early Sunday morning. His mother, father and sister were asleep at the time.

According to the arrest affidavit, the teen told deputies he tried to light a sock on fire to ignite the fuel when his mother woke up and startled him.

Deputies say he went back to his room and called a friend asking him to come over. They said he wanted the friend to hold the empty gas can and wait for him outside.

When the friend arrived, the teen also handed him a bag with his iPhone, a charger, two stuffed animals and earbuds. He told deputies the stuffed animals were given to him by his mother and sister and were something to remember them by.

The arrest affidavit states initially, the teen's parents thought the friend was responsible for pouring the gasoline but he was questioned and released.

It said during questioning, the 16-year-old son admitted he was responsible and said he had been planning the murders for a month.

According to deputies, he was stressed out over school, grades and "hormones from puberty" and thought killing his family would relieve his stress.

He is being held in the Polk County Juvenile Assessment Center.

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