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Florida investigators have launched a homicide investigation after two teenagers were rushed to the hospital from a Fort Myers restaurant and one of them died hours after returning home.

Ava Hulett, 19, was out with a group at Pelican Larry’s Raw Bar and Grill when she and at least one friend suffered from medical emergencies, according to her family’s attorney, Anthony Rickman.

She later returned home, but her family found her unresponsive hours later. 

“She went from there to the hospital,” Rickman said. “They released her, and then she died a short time thereafter when she was released back home.”


Ava Hulett has her hair dyed bright pink in an undated portrait

Ava Hulett, 19, died under suspicious circumstances after being rushed to the hospital from a Fort Myers, Florida, seafood bar. Authorities have opened a homicide investigation. (Courtesy of the Hulett Family)

Without using the victim’s name under Florida privacy laws, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said it responded to a call for assistance at the restaurant and that it followed up at a home in connection with a 19-year-old’s death and found a teen dead on her bedroom floor. Ten minutes later, a medic pronounced her dead.

“Investigators learned she was a patron at Pelican’s Larry’s during the previous evening,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Detectives launched a homicide investigation, but the sheriff’s office also said there was no evidence that restaurant staff were to blame.


“They’re not investigating the restaurant for anything like poisoning,” Rickman told Fox News Digital. “If it is a poisoning circumstance, it’s our belief that it was an intentional act by another third party that caused the medical situation for Ava Hulett.”

Lab and toxicology results and other forensic testing were still pending Monday.

Rickman has been representing the Huletts since the accidental shooting death of Ava’s older brother, who was killed in 2019 by one of his friends, according to FOX 13 Tampa.

Bradley and Ava Hulett make "peace" signs and smile while wearing pink

Ava Hulett poses with her older brother Bradley in an undated family photo. Bradley died at the age of 15 in another tragedy after his friend accidentally discharged a gun in his direction. (Courtesy of the Hulett Family)

In that case, the friend was playing with his father’s handgun when it discharged and fatally struck Bradley Hulett.

“The family is mourning and grieving,” Rickman said. “No family should have to bury a child, nonetheless two. And no parent should ever have to outlive their children, and these poor parents have to outlive two now.”

In a Facebook post, Ava’s mother Meagan Hulett wrote that she did not believe her daughter killed herself or ingested any dangerous substance knowingly, Rickman said.

PELICAN LARRYS exterior, white stucco building with round tower, clay tile roof

An external view of the shopping center that houses Pelican Larry’s, where Ava Hulett was out with friends before being hospitalized. Investigators have ruled out restaurant workers in connection with their homicide investigation. (Google Maps)


The post was no longer visible Monday, but Rickman said it had been preserved accurately in the Tampa Bay Times.

“She was conscious after the event and even said to me, ‘I don’t want to die,’” the mother wrote. “She was scared.”

She added that police were investigating “other overdoses reported at the bar.”

“It’s traumatic; it’s sad; it’s horrible,” Rickman said. “No family should have to go through this.”

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