Niceville man charged with second-degree murder in girlfriend's death in January

Kevin Robinson
Northwest Florida Daily News
Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office investigators have charged Bret Bay in connection with the January 2021 death of Lauryn Marotto.

A Niceville man has been arrested in connection with the death of his girlfriend at their Pine Street mobile home earlier this year, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office news release.

Bret Steven Bay, 57, is charged with second-degree murder.

OCSO investigators say Bay strangled Lauryn Marotto, whose body was discovered Jan. 13 on a bedroom floor wrapped in sheets and comforters.

Bay's roommate called the OCSO after finding a hand-written note on the home's kitchen counter and discovered that Bay and his vehicle had disappeared.

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According to Bay's arrest warrant, the note was addressed to "Responding Officers." It claimed Bay and Marotto had been involved in a "violent" traffic crash Jan. 8, but that Bay initially believed everyone was OK. The notes claims that by the time they arrived home, Marotto's lips had turned blue and she had stopped breathing.

Bay reportedly wrote how much he loved Marotto and that he couldn't explain the "bad decisions" he had made over the past five days.

"I can't explain any of my actions after that, I didn't want to lose, I love that crazy woman to death and wanted her with me til' the end," the note reportedly said. "I know now what I've done is wrong and gruesome but I really didn't want her to go. I am so sorry, the pain I've caused her family is horrible I know."

Bret Bay

Marotto was found wrapped in bedding on the floor of the master bedroom. A box fan was positioned nearby and blowing toward an open window, according to the arrest warrant.

Bay was found and arrested Feb. 27 in Little Rock, Arkansas, on an OCSO warrant for tampering with physical evidence. He was extradited to Okaloosa County and held in the Okaloosa County Jail.

On Wednesday, he was served an additional warrant for homicide by strangulation, the release said.

Kevin Robinson can be reached at or 850-435-8527.