A triple homicide in Lehigh, Florida, involving four members of a Belizean family – three of whom were killed, and one who has been charged with their murders – has rocked that quiet residential area of Lehigh Acres.
The victims are: Dorla Hyde-Pitts, 37, the sister of Roaring Creek resident, Russel Hyde Sr., (whose wife was shot and killed in a vehicle he was driving near the Guanacaste Park in May of this year), Dorla’s 17 year-old daughter, Starlette Pitts (who was pregnant), and Starlette’s boyfriend, Michael Kelly, 19, who was spending the night at their house.
The pair’s one year-old baby girl was found crying at the crime scene on Tuesday morning when the bodies were discovered. Absent from the home were Dorla’s husband, Dorrien Pitts and her nephew, Brian Hyde, 19, a Belizean who had been “vacationing” with them since January of this year.
The three victims were found inside the Pitts’ home in Lehigh Acres, after checks were made when Dorla failed to report for work on Monday. A neighbour who was informed that she had not showed up to work went to see what was the matter and made the gruesome discovery.
During a press conference held on Thursday evening, Florida police revealed that Brian Hyde has been charged with the three murders, plus causing the death of an unborn baby. He was detained on Tuesday morning after he was caught driving without a license and for driving contrary to the free flow of traffic.
That vehicle, Florida police revealed, had been stolen from the Pitts’ home. Police also said they found blood stains inside the car.
While they did not reveal the motive for the killings, or what weapon was used, investigators shared that the victims suffered “sharp force trauma”, which could mean a knife, a pair of scissors, or other edged tool.
Hyde, who left Belize in January to “vacation” with his aunt Dorla and her family, was never arrested while there for any offense. His rap sheet in Belize prior to his departure, however, is a lengthy one, dating back to around 2010. He had been arrested and charged in Belize for burglary, theft, handling stolen goods, robbery, and was a suspect in the 2013 double murder of two tourists, Alry Sardido and David Reichel, who were killed and dumped in the Roaring Creek river.
Dorrien Pitts, Dorla’s husband, is a truck driver in Florida. He told NBC2 News in Florida that his job kept him away from home for most of the month, and that he only went home on an average, once a month.
He said that he didn’t really know what Hyde was doing at his home for that extended period of time, and that he never asked his wife about it because for them he was “family”.
Prior to her death, the Pitts were married for 12 years. The one year-old granddaughter Pitts shares with Michael’s mother, Sherry Flemming, is now in Flemming’s care. Pitts has told reporters in Florida that he plans “to reach out” to Flemming in the near future.
Michael Kelly’s mother, Sherry Flemming, said Michael called her Monday night to say he was spending the night with Starlette. That was the last time Flemming spoke with her son. She recalled that Michael was an outgoing, caring individual who always tried to avoid trouble.