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17-Year-Old Runaway Palm Coast Girl Found Unresponsive at Bunnell’s Budget Motel

| September 18, 2014

The girl was found in room 10 at the Budget Motel, unconscious. (© FlaglerLive)

The girl was found in room 10 at the Budget Motel, unconscious. (© FlaglerLive)

The 17-year-old girl had gone missing last Saturday (Sept. 13) from her foster home in Palm Coast’s LL Section.

When a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy spoke to her 42-year-old foster mother, she told the deputy that the girl snuck out of her bedroom window sometime between 1 and 7 a.m. The previous day, the girl had complained that what was referred to as the “Children’s Medical Society” in the sheriff’s incident report “was treating her like a baby and wouldn’t let her go anywhere.” The girl said she would run away soon. (There is no such thing as a Children’s Medical Society; she was likely referring to the Children’s Home Society of Florida, a fostering and adoption agency that has placed some 2,700 children in homes in Flagler, Volusia and Putnam counties.)


The foster mother did not know where the girl might be other than perhaps somewhere in Palm Coast’s R-Section.

Two days later—at nearly noon Monday—the girl was discovered. She was alone, unconscious, in Room 10 of the Budget Motel in Bunnell. A maid found her when she went to Room 10 to clean it.

The maid immediately called 911. A Flagler County Fire Rescue unit took the girl to Florida Hospital Flagler before cops got to the scene, since she was non-responsive and it was a critical emergency situation. She was at first mistaken for a woman in her early 20s. The girl, according to a Bunnell police report, was then flown to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where she remains.

As of Wednesday, Bunnell Police Chief Tom Foster said, she had not regained consciousness. He said she had been induced into a coma because she had been in insulin deficiency. Foster was treating the matter as “a sex case,” and the police department was terming it “suspicious.”

Nateshawn Royal

Nateshawn Royal

The girl had checked into the motel the previous evening, according to motel management, with Nateshawn Royal, 27, whose last known address was in Palm Coast’s B-Section, and who has a criminal record, including a 2005 conviction for obstruction of justice (a first-degree misdemeanor), a 2009 conviction for cocaine sale (a second-degree felony), and a 2010 conviction for theft (a second-degree misdemeanor). He was not at the motel when either maid, fire rescue or police showed up.

“We can’t locate him yet,” Foster said Wednesday.

When Bunnell police arrived at Room 10 at the Budget Motel, the maid had already been fixing up the room, potentially disrupting evidence. “There were no narcotics found in the room,” the police report states, “and her personal items were placed into a bag.”

“The personal items were not taken initially into custody due to the initial information given by fire-rescue,” namely, that the girl was 20 to 25. The investigator went to Florida Hospiotal Flagler, where he was able to identify the girl and discover that she was the girl reported missing two days earlier. He then returned to the motel. By then motel personnel had given the girl’s belongings to her sister, “even though the hotel staff was told to hold them,” the police report states. The maid also reported that she had found three condoms, but also gave those to the girl’s sister.

The investigator returned to the hospital and contacted the Department of Children and Families as well as the Child Protection Team, which is called in when cases of sexual or other forms of abuse are suspected. “They advised me that they would have to wait until the subject regained consciousness,” the police report states, “but DCF stated he will keep an eye on the subject.”

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32 Responses for “17-Year-Old Runaway Palm Coast Girl Found Unresponsive at Bunnell’s Budget Motel”

  1. Kathy says:

    What??? ““The personal items were not taken initially into custody due to the initial information given by fire-rescue,” namely, that the girl was 20 to 25.” What???? So at a certain assumed age this is our Sheriff’s protocol, older is ok to be found this way without locking everything down…What???

  2. Lin says:

    I hope this girl recovers completely and quickly

    It sounds like another “sex case” and “suspicious” according to police but where the scene was not secured, where potential evidence not preserved and where judgments were made that could cause justice not to be served.
    I Can understand underestimating her age but it sounds like we just did not do right by her.
    Was she attended to by nurses trained in forensics?
    Is DCF really watching out for her?

    • PC OG says:

      “Is DCF really watching out for her?” Lol, are you? An average DCF worker helps more children in one week than you probably will your entire life. They usually work 12+ hours a day, because the caseload given to them by the wonderful citizens of Florida is insurmountable. If you can do it better, go fill out an application because I hear they are always hiring.

  3. BIG JOHN says:

    Why does Bunnell still have its own police force? Ridiculous isn’t it?

  4. yeah ok says:

    So a fireman is a detective now? Call the humane society for and injured animal and they send a deputy. Runaway/missing or throwaway girl (depending on whose writing the report) and things get sloppy real quick. Missing college girl in VA is plastered all over the news, drunk with friends bar hopping all over the place and this local girl didn’t even get reported as missing even though she needs constant medical supervision?

  5. Sherry Epley says:

    WOW! This appears to be extremely sloppy police work! So what if she appear to be over 18? She was unconscious and evidence was collected. Why? Why? Why? wasn’t that evidence secured????

  6. rst says:

    Is it against the law to be unconscious in a hotel room at age 20-25? I think not. Hence the difference. Everyone is quick to jump on law enforcement. Sign up and give it a try.

  7. Seminole Pride says:

    He’s 27 years old, she’s 17. This should be a capital offense on a minor.

  8. Shakyra Laster says:

    Dand i just saw her in school. i hope my baby girl recover quick.

  9. Shakyra Laster says:

    Dang i just saw her in school. i hope my baby girl recover quick.

  10. jim says:

    Once again Flagler’s Finest….WTF…. where is the LEADERSHIP???? time for a CHANGE!!

  11. jim says:

    here is the set up….
    Criminal Investigations 101….

    1st day….1st minute…. Hello my name is Det. Dave and i’m here to teach you how to conduct criminal investigations….

    1st day 2nd minute….. SECURE THE CRIME SCENE!!! ….. enough said

  12. Kawesha says:

    If it had been a WHITE GIRL , there would have been a “secured crime scene”. Don’t worry, ACLU , Rev Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are already on a plane headed this way.

    • Kathy says:

      Did I miss something in that story or somewhere else…I had no idea of her race until your statement?

      As for Jackson & Sharpton…they mean well with their arrivals but they always seem to make things worse and then nothing changes. They appear to use the tragedy of others to put their faces screaming all over the country but has anything been accomplished that has benefited the greater population more than benefited themselves?

      That isn’t a rhetorical question…it’s a real question…as one who tries to avoid going in too deep when the news is nothing but yelling; I tend to block it out. Please educate me…they are not new…what are their real accomplishments thus far that have benefited the people and not just themselves?

      Please don’t mistake me for thinking race is not an issue…I am often shocked by it on all sides. I certainly don’t have an answer but I don’t see Jackson & Sharpton’s answers either…and if they do have an answer they need stop yelling and stirring up more angry energy long enough for us all to hear what that answer is.

    • My Daily Rant says:

      “YOU PEOPLE” Always make everything about Race,When will the Looting start.
      PEACE

  13. Anita says:

    “Throwaway” girl? What is that? Whether she’s seven, seventeen or seventy-seven, she is a human being and as deserving of respect as you are. She’s evidently had a rough time in her short life and I do hope she not only survives this experience, but learns from it.

    • yeah ok says:

      Ah “throwaway” was a sarcastic jab at THOSE handling the case that did not or do not see the victim as a person. After all she wasn’t reported as missing with medical issues. Instead she was reported as a “runaway.” Wasn’t literally calling her or any other child a “throwaway”.

  14. TomC says:

    Sounds like a lot of readers are self-appointed investigative experts….been watching too many CSI type shows?

  15. Palm Coast Resident says:

    There is obviously way more to this story then the brief article written. Tho I actually never read anything about her ‘race’ therefore I’m not sure why it’s being assumed she’s not white. Regardless of anything, this situation is horrible no matter her age, race or being in foster care. From what I read, it sounds like the motel made an extremely bad judgement call from the beginning. The maid should never starting cleaning the room while waiting for the cops to show up. But the damage is done and hopefully they get everything figured out.

  16. jim says:

    Hey TomC… and RST Read it again.. Bunnell Chief Foster stated: “Foster was treating the matter as “a sex case,” and the police department was terming it “suspicious.” There’s the reason for your crime scene. DUH!

    • just saying says:

      It was a crime scene once it was suspected that a crime occurred. There are medical reasons for passing out, in a hotel room or home, that don’t rise to the level of a suspected crime.

      The real problem is with the maid who didn’t think it suspicious and worthy a police call to recommend it. It reads like she only advised that is was a medical call without the need for police intervention, then the medics were more concerned in getting her help than looking into wither a crime occurred.

    • jadobi says:

      Yes, it was labled as a “sex case” after they determined that the girl was a juvenile. How were they (police) supposed to know anything was suspicious from the get go. Everyone here, you know, the arm chair detectives, base their opinion on the information they have read here. Nothing here was developed at the onset of the incident.

      “yeah ok says”…. the fire department doesn’t have to wait for police to get on scene.. they are only concerned with the well being of the sick.

  17. Lin says:

    PC OG,
    I’m too busy taking care of grandchild all day to get another job at DCF as you suggest.

    If DCF can’t take of all their cases then let’s work on fixing that — we should look at whether they have too many children to “keep an eye on” as in this news story
    If we don’t look at what might be done better in these situations, things will only get worse.
    Just trying to help

    • JLB says:

      PCOG why would you jump down someone throat like that? I don’t care how many cases one Dcf worker has if a kid ends up dead obviously things happen but if there is a way to prevent it then one dead is one too many! Thankfully there might be a chance for this young girl! If the caseload is the problem than we need to fix it! The way YOU come across won’t fix anything chill

  18. THE VOICE OF REASON says:

    Everybody knows when you call the police to a scene you preserve it for them.

    Judging from the fact that the motel cleaned the room before police arrived, and gave the girl’s effects to a relative, I’d say the motel has an hourly clientele it’s trying to protect.

  19. Sherry Epley says:

    Regarding DCF CUTS. . . this from First Coast News in January:

    The research group studied 40 child deaths where DCF had contact with the family, and found cuts in the department were a major issue.

    DCF’s budget is down around $20 million from last year alone, and more than 70 positions were cut.

    So Jacobo asked the Governor to put that money back and assign two case workers to families in crisis and reduce the caseload of child protective investigators.

    RICK SCOTT needs to go!

  20. floridagirl says:

    To racist people – everything is about race.

  21. Mara Torres says:

    This is so crazy so God forbid the girl dies there will be no evidence to look at…My daughter ran away last week thank God we found her….looking at this outcome really should be a wake up call for all teenagers who want to runaway for stupid reasons like My parents are to strict there are so many rules …God bless her…

  22. VictimofDCH says:

    First off Florida is very known bad its bad judgments with The handling of children and the right placement of children and yes that lays on the shoulders of the upper government and the inspector Generals office in our capital city. But this is very sad what happen to this child and for a grown man to take Advantage of one of Our children while she is going through a big Displacement in her world that’s what this is About NOT RACE OR COLOR Children are CHILDREN and we as there leaders should take care of them but also make sure there taken care of Not left OPEN LIKE THIS to be taken advantage of by some animal that has no respect for the children the punishment for them is never severe enough. and that should have been treated as possible Crime Seen Seeing’s The person she checked in with was no where to be concerned about the girl he brought there that’s fishy right from the start and until her condition was stable it should have been handled way different no matter how old She was or what the color of her skin is IT WAS A CHILD
    And yes my Grammer is not that great but What the hell neither is our Government or local Authorities Cant take care of our children this child needed meds and nobody thought that with her illness she could Die without it but we put Elders missing needs meds but not Our Children Wake up Flagler county

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