A Ukrainian man has been charged with the stabbing murders of his adoptive parents in Florida.
Dima Tower, 21, allegedly killed his adoptive parents, Robbie and Jennifer Tower, aged 49 and 51, in their home in North Port on Friday evening (1 September).
Police were called to the scene by a neighbour who reported hearing screaming and banging on her door shortly before midnight.
The neighbour said she opened the door and no one was there, but there was a smear of blood spatters on the ground.
Responding officers found Dima Tower with blood on his clothes, closing the trunk of his car.
He allegedly disregarded police orders to freeze, got in his car and fled the scene. Officers chased the car at high speed, deploying other units to sting the car with spike strips on Interstate 75. While they managed the puncture the tires, the suspect then fled on foot into a wooded area.
After eight hours of searching, police finally found Dima Tower on Saturday morning near Interstate 75 and Laurel Road in Sarasota County and arrested him.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to them and the family members. We are trying to provide justice for them as best we can. We now have one person in custody after a pretty significant search in the night through some highly wooded and wet areas, we just had storms, so it was pretty tough sliding. The Sarasota County Office in Venice were leading the charge to find this individual. Certainly, we were helping, we had K-9s, helicopters, SWAT teams looking for this individual, “Josh Taylor from the North Port Police Department told WinkNews.
The couple were found deceased, their bodies positioned lying head-to-head with blood seeping into their living room floor, reported WinkNews.
Investigators say they believe the attack may have gone on for some time, as they found horrifying amounts of spatters and pools of blood throughout their home, such as in the master bedroom, living room, inside the front door and the kitchen, local reports said.
Robbie and Jennifer Tower were a devout Christian missionary couple, who worked as real estate agents. They would often visit Ukraine on Christian missions. They adopted their son, who was 14 at the time, seven years ago from an orphanage. Robbie Tower’s uncle, Warren Rines, said that the orphanage treated the then-teen in an inhumane manner.
“He would have bruises on him in the orphanage. When they went out to eat, he would have like six hot dogs. He wasn’t getting a lot to eat. These orphanages are like prison for kids,” he told the New York Post.
The Ukrainian-born suspect had a turbulent childhood; his mother died as a child and his father, who was an alcoholic abandoned him.
After they adopted their son, he allegedly displayed a lot of violent behaviour way before he stabbed and killed his parents, according to Mr Rines. He was often starting fights at school and once left Robbie Tower with a black eye, leading him to be sent to stay with relatives of theirs for a while.
Court records show that Dima Tower was arrested in 2020 after a physical fight with someone inside the victim’s home. The state attorney decided not prosecute the case, according to WinkNews.
“I think the boy just had a lot of hate in him already before he came here. And I guess you take it out on the ones closest to you,” Mr Rines added.
Mr Rines described the couple, who could not have their own biological children, as “two really good, caring people” and would often buy their son whatever he wanted, including the car he was allegedly chased in by police.
“It just makes no sense, none of us understand the hate. They were the only two people in his life who ever tried to help him. They treated him like their own son,” Mr Rines added.
Debbie Tower, Robbie’s mother, wrote a tribute to the couple on Facebook. She said: "They spent their entire life savings to adopt him and this is how he repays them… I don’t really know how I am going to get through this... Rob and Jen were not just my kids, they were my best friends and we did everything together."
Police have yet to reveal the motive for the murders.