News from BSO

PARENTAL ABDUCTION ENDS IN SUICIDE

BSO Case Number: OP02-11-13564
PIO Number: 02-11-38
Date: Monday, November 25, 2002
Time: 1600
Place of Occurrence: 4761 NE 15 Terrace, Oakland Park (ROADSIDE)

Victim(s):

  • W/F (suspect’s ex-wife); the former couple’s 3 and 4 year-old sons

Suspect(s):

  • Pending notification of next of kin

Description of Incident:

A divorced Michigan couple’s custody battle over their two young sons ends in tragedy when the children’s father commits suicide after abducting his ex-wife and his two children during a terrifying four-hour ordeal.

At approximately 11 a.m., Monday, November 25, 2002, the suspect, described only as a white male from Michigan, arrived at his ex-wife’s Fort Lauderdale residence armed with a handgun. Once inside, the suspect revealed the gun and proceeded to hold his 3 and 4 year-old sons and the children’s mother hostage for more than four hours.

In an attempt to secure her boy’s safety, the terrified mother of two convinced her ex-husband to drop-off the children at a Fort Lauderdale Winn Dixie store where her sister works. Shortly after 3:30 p.m., the suspect, still armed with the handgun, complied by loading his ex-wife and their two sons into his Michigan registered Ford Aerostar mini-van. The four then drove to the Winn Dixie Supermarket, located at 1700 E. Commercial Blvd. Once outside the store, the suspect’s ex-wife exited the vehicle in what the suspect thought was an attempt to make arrangements with her sister. Instead, the children’s mother dialed 911.

Fort Lauderdale Police immediately responded, but the suspect fled with the two children as soon as he spotted the officers. Aware the young brothers were still in the vehicle and that the unpredictable suspect was armed, Fort Lauderdale Police closely followed the mini-van through an Oakland Park residential neighborhood with their lights off. At approximately 4:04 p.m., the suspect stopped his car at the 4700 block of NE 15th Terrace in Oakland Park, exited the vehicle, placed his gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. The suspect was pronounced dead on the scene.

Moments later, the unharmed children were reunited with their mother at the Winn Dixie store from where she dialed 911. Investigators have learned the couple divorced in May 2002 after three years of marriage. The suspect’s ex-wife claims she recently moved to South Florida to flee from her former husband. BSO homicide detectives continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident.

INVESTIGATORS: Sgt. R. O’Neil/ CI Homicide; Fort Lauderdale Police Dept.
THIS REPORT BY: Liz Calzadilla/ PIO 11/25/02 8 p.m.

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