It's a loss no child should ever have to go through -- their mother murdered in their home, and the suspected killer found there, too, hanging in another room.
"I've got a teenage daughter that goes to school and comes home and finds a dead man inside her house and then we have to tell her that her mom is dead inside there," New Port Richey Police Chief James Steffens said. "That is traumatic, which my heart goes out to this family."
Chief Steffens says the young girl ran for help, thankfully, without ever seeing her mother, identified by police as Tina Diane Lane, 37. The girl and her sister are now being cared for by family, with a victim advocate right by their side.
"I know that it's a homicidal scene. It involves blunt force trauma. It's very direct in terms of what this gentleman did to this poor lady. But the daughters don't know the specific details. They know that mom is dead somewhere inside that house."
"This is just so sad and we're just so close here. it's very scary," said Bambi Crowl.
Crowl and her husband live a few streets down and say they walk past the house on Maplewood Drive every morning.
"I always hear loud screaming and yelling coming from that house and I'm actually kind of not surprised," she continued.
"My wife and daughter walk by here all the time. I can't believe it's happening. Our neighborhood seems to be getting worse, you know. I can't believe it happened so close," Mike Bernbaum added.
Detectives still don't know why or what led to the murder. They're now scouring the house for clues, hoping to find answers for the two young girls who are now left behind, without their mother.
"Emotionally, the daughters are going to have a long time before they can really get to that next stage of healing based on what we've told them," the chief added.
Police have not released the name of the suspected killer, but they believe he was known to the family.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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