Burned bodies identified as Winter Park High students

The two young men whose bodies were found on the Cady Way Trail beside the Crane Strand Canal bridge between Forsyth and Goldenrod roads have been positively identified as Winter Park High School students, Nicholas Presha, 16, and Jeremy Stewart, 18, said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Both teens were reported missing shortly before the bodies were discovered.

A small fire that was called into the Orange County Fire Department on Sunday at the Sun Bay Apartments was cordoned off due to its close proximity to the homicides, and has since been determined to be related to the on-going investigation.

Residents of the apartment complex said that they heard several gunshots at around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Presha is the son of retired Orange County Sheriff’s Captain Bernie Presha, who now works as an investigator with the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s office. Presha has been notified of his son’s death, but has not yet released any comments.

“This morning the Presha family was informed that their 16-year-old son is one of two victims of a gruesome, senseless and shocking murder,” said the State Attorney’s office. “The Presha family’s grief and sorrow is this agency’s primary concern at this point.”

A 911 phone call made on Sunday morning at 6:41 a.m. by one of the bicyclists who found the bodies has been released to the public. “I can’t tell if there’s two mannequins or two people burning,” said the biker various times during the duration of the call.

An automated phone call by Principal Tim Smith went out Wednesday to the homes of all Winter Park High School students with the news that the victims were students, and that the school was assured to be safe by the Orange County Police Department.

All FCAT testing at the high school is being postponed until an undetermined date, according to the call, along with the high school Lacrosse game Wednesday night. Grief counselors will be available to students beginning Thursday morning.

A candlelight vigil is being organized for the two victims on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will be taking place at the bridge where their bodies were found, according to a new Facebook page created by the victims’ peers.

Presha took part in youth football, where he excelled, according to one of his former Winter Park Bengals coaches. He was known as a well-mannered, quiet, polite kid and a great teammate.

The homicide team at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department continue to urge the public to bring forward any information that they might have to assist in identifying the suspect(s) responsible for these killings or uncovering additional evidence. Tips can be sent in anonymously to Crimeline.