By Jeff Weiner – Orlando Sentinel
A family of five, including two children, have been found dead at an Orlando home in an apparent murder-suicide, the Orlando Police Department said Tuesday.
The agency said investigators went to the home on Lake District Lane, in southeast Orlando near Lake Nona, about 1 p.m. Tuesday to conduct a well-being check. Inside, they found the bodies of five people.
OPD spokesperson Andrea Otero said the investigation is active, and reporters at the scene described a massive police presence.
Otero did not identify those killed or give their ages, saying their relatives still need to be informed. The OPD statement did not indicate how they died or what led to the killings.
Justin Rossilini said he lives across the street from the two-story beige home and didn’t hear anything alarming the past couple of nights.
“I’ve had the past two days off. We’ve been home. I didn’t hear anything,” he told reporters. “I have a feeling it happened Sunday night.”
Rossilini said he saw a cop looking through the car window around 11:30 a.m. Later in the afternoon, he said there was about 35 vehicles on the street where he lives.
He said he remembers saying hello to the 22-year-old son about five days ago when getting the mail.
“They seemed normal,” he said.
Rossilini described them as a family with two little girls around the ages 6 and 7.
”They moved in about two months ago,” he said. “I find it extremely selfish that you have to bring somebody else involved in whatever it is you’re trying to seek.”
Lauren Ruiz, 20, grew up in the neighborhood. She came out to the scene to get closure and more information about what happened.
“When I heard what happened I felt shock, and panic and some confusion,” she said. “I was hoping they got it wrong. This kind of thing never happens here.”
Orlando City Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero showed up after she heard the news from her son’s friends who play sand volleyball nearby as well as calls from residents who thought there may be a shooter at large.
“It’s important that leaders come out and begin to understand there’s something going on with the mental health of the community. … We don’t want this to be repeated,” she said.
Heather Collins, 46, lives nearby and said she knows the family moved in a couple of months ago.
”I have this sickening sadness,” she said. “It’s a nightmare receiving an end like that especially with children.”
There have been several murder-suicides in Central Florida in recent months.
In April, a family friend shot and killed two people before killing himself in an unincorporated Winter Park home, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. The victims were identified as James Calhoun, 42, and Emma Cain, 49, and the killer as 48-year-old Shane Shearer.
In June, police say Carlos Manuel Soto shot and killed his wife, Zuleika Del Carmen Lopez Avila, her mother Mileida Carmen Lopez Avila and her 15-year-old son Victor Araujo Lopez, before killing himself.
Zuleika Lopez Avila had called law enforcement six days earlier, expressing fear over her husband having a weapon in their home. Officers went to the family’s apartment but said they couldn’t find evidence of physical violence and said she denied having been threatened, so no action was taken.
Another alleged murder-suicide took place later that month at The Fountains Resort on International Drive, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said. The shooter and victim were not identified publicly at the time and the agency described the death only as the result of a “domestic incident.”
Tuesday’s grisly discovery also calls to mind one of Central Florida’s most notorious recent homicide cases: The Todt family murders, in which Anthony Todt killed his wife and three children in Celebration.
Authorities found Todt living with the decomposing bodies of 42-year-old Megan Todt and the couple’s children Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4, on Jan. 13, 2020, while serving a warrant to arrest him on federal health care fraud charges related to his Connecticut physical therapy business.
Megan Todt and her three children had been dead for “at least a couple weeks” before they were found, according to a medical examiner. Todt, who told jurors he tried and failed to kill himself in a variety of ways, was convicted of first-degree murder in April.
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Source: American Military News