Overview of Tyler Howell
Tyler was an outgoing, one of a kind, holiday-loving 21 year old with his whole life ahead of him.
Tyler loved dancing and would often perform in talent shows, according to his friends, who even tried their hand at rapping together. He loved spending time with people, especially his family, and he loved every holiday, but especially loved giving gifts to his loved ones on Christmas. Tyler was truly a one of a kind young man who was known for his talent of making people laugh. Tyler was the oldest of three children in his family and did stucco work with his uncle prior to his death.
"Tyler was one of the kind of kids you wanted to get out of the terrible twos but never did. He was so rambunctious. He was a handful. But he had a heart of gold, and he was so goofy." - Angela Mantlo, Tyler’s mother.
Tyler went to a local gas station with his cousin.
Tyler and his cousin, who remains unnamed, visit the Local Yokel gas station in Milton, FL late on the night of October 21, 2018. After the two purchased cigarettes, they left the gas station. When they left, they were followed by a silver Kia Optima with several black males inside.
The Kia Optima follows them back to Tyler’s home.
When Tyler and his cousin, who are in a blue Chevy Cruz, return to his home, the silver Kia Optima followed behind them to his home. Tyler reportedly exited the Cruz, leaving his cousin in the driver’s seat, and got into the Kia Optima with the men.
While both cars are parked, one of the men reportedly exited the Optima and approached Tyler’s cousin in the Cruz. According to authorities, the man pointed a gun at Tyler’s cousin and demanded that she exit the car.
"I honestly don’t know what happened that night.” - Angela Mantlo, Tyler’s mother.
Tyler is abducted and his cousin’s car is stolen.
When Tyler's cousin exited her car, the suspect then steals her car and speeds away, followed by the Kia Optima with Tyler still inside. Shortly after he was abducted, Tyler was shot several times and left on the side of the same road he lived on. Tyler’s family and authorities believe that he had been fighting to escape the car when he was shot.
Authorities share images of one of a suspect and both cars are found.
In a press conference only two days after Tyler’s death, authorities share images taken from surveillance footage of the gas station Tyler and his cousin visited on the night of his death. The man shown in the images, one of the suspects in Tyler’s murder, is a black male wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, and neon-colored shoes. Authorities also announce at the press conference that they believe that Tyler’s death was a drug deal gone wrong or possibly a drug rip.
A week after Tyler’s death, authorities locate his cousin’s stolen Chevy Cruz. The car had been found in connection with another shooting incident in Pensacola, FL. Later in 2018, the Kia Optima, which had been driven in Tyler’s murder and abduction, was found. The car’s owner was discovered to be Keyairis Hawkins, who was serving time on unrelated charges at the time of Tyler’s murder.
Where the case stands today.
"I just want somebody to come forward and let this (silence) code thing go and help us get justice for Tyler. We need closure." - Angela Mantlo, Tyler’s mother.
In February of 2022, Tyler’s case was featured as one of five cold cases at the Florida Sheriffs Association’s Cold Case Advisory Commission Conference held in Navarre Beach, FL. The first day of this conference focused on training new investigative techniques that could be used to one day solve cold cases. The second day of the conference focused on reviewing each of the five cold cases presented, including Tyler’s.
"We're looking for more information. Someone out there needs to know something that can connect the pieces of the puzzle.” - Milton Police Sgt. Rich Aloy.
Today nearly 4 years have passed since Tyler’s murder, which remains unsolved and being investigated by authorities. If you have any information, please contact the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office at (850) 983-1190 or Santa Rosa County Crime Stoppers at (850) 437-STOP (7867).
“Please come forward. I want justice for my son, for my family, for Tyler.” - Angela Mantlo, Tyler’s mother.