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Chance Peterkin and his mother were last seen early Thursday walking away from their Avon Park home

By Jeff Truesdell
July 24, 2020 12:13 PM
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Chance Peterkin
Chance Peterkin
| Credit: Highland County Sheriff's Office

A Florida mom faces charges after her missing 5-year-old son was found dead in a lake early Friday.

Philletta Moransit, 29, and her son, Chance Peterkin, were reported missing at 6 p.m. Thursday, about 9 hours after they were last seen walking away from their home in Avon Park, according to a news release from the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.

But when she was located shortly before 8 p.m. on the campus of South Florida State College, the mother was "uncooperative with the investigation," the news release states.

After deputies located some of the woman's clothing near Lake Leila, they focused a search on the eastern side of the lake using deputies on foot and ATVs and multiple K-9s scouring the heavily wooded area around the lake. The search also deployed multiple boats from the sheriff's office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, searching both Lake Lelia and Lake Glenada.

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A drone and a Polk County Sheriff's Office helicopter conducted aerial searches, but failed to locate a heat signature during the search, the news release states.

Around 12:20 a.m., Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman, who had been on one of those boats searching for several hours, located Chance in the water.

Philetta Moransit
Philetta Moransit
| Credit: Highland County Sheriff's Office

Online records of the Highlands County jail show Moransit is being held on one count of child neglect with great bodily harm, and one count of resisting an officer and obstruction without violence. Her bond is listed at $100,000.

An attorney who might speak on her behalf was not immediately identified.