Fla. man charged with Ga. teen's murder

Steven Cozier (Source: Walton Co. Sheriff's Office)
Steven Cozier (Source: Walton Co. Sheriff's Office)
Vidalia residents express shock over the news
Vidalia residents express shock over the news

VIDALIA, GA (WTOC) - A teenager from Toombs County who was on vacation with her family in Florida is murdered.

Authorities in Florida have not yet released the teen's name, but in Toombs County the news is spreading fast and the mourning has already begun.

On Thursday, the mother of 15-year-old Courtney Wilkes called 911 in Walton County, Fla., to report that her daughter had not returned from a walk with an acquaintance she met while vacationing with her family.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office had the description of the acquaintance Wilkes was last seen with and a search began.  A short time later, her body was found near Cypress Grove in Seagrove Fla., not far from where the teen was staying.

On Friday, Steven Anthony Cozzie, 21, was charged with murder and booked into the Walton County Jail. Authorities are releasing few details about Cozzie's arrest or whether he even knew the teen.

Classmates of Wilkes in Vidalia say they were shocked to learn the news. Students have put up a memorial for Wilkes outside Toombs County High School, where they can write messages to their beloved classmate.

One student wrote, "You were truly a great friend. Your sarcastic jokes were endless in physics."

Another student said, "I love you so much Court-Court. You have always meant so much to me and you always will."

The students told WTOC they don't where the nickname Court-Court came from, they just remembered calling her that since elementary school.

Wilkes was at the top of her class, she played on the soccer team, and her friends say she was the type of person who would do anything for anyone.

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