Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

2015 in Review: Troubled man charged with slaying niece, mother

Jason Rios faces charges of first-degree and attempted murder.

Jason Rios faces charges of first-degree and attempted murder.

Ernesto Rios ran out of the shower when he heard the screams.

His son, Jason Rios, then 24, was wielding a tire iron above his 7-year-old granddaughter, La'nyla Heater. He had already hit her in the face and was preparing to strike again in February, a sheriff's report says.

Ernesto Rios rushed to intervene before Jason could land another blow to La'nyla. He wrestled his son — whom Ernesto said looked dazed, as if he were asleep — out of their New Port Richey house. In another bedroom, La'nyla's sister, Jenica Randazzo, 9, lay dying, a victim of Jason's attack. Jason — who had three times been taken into custody under Florida's Baker Act, which allows police to commit to a psychiatric facility those they believe are a danger to themselves or others — also killed his double-amputee mother, Angela Rios, 55.

The girls were Jason's nieces and the daughters of his sister, Jessica Rios, who also had two sons. Ernesto and Angela were in the process of adopting all four children.

But hampered by federal health regulations, the state's Department of Children and Families couldn't ask about the mental health of anyone besides the adoptive parents. That meant even though Jason lived in the home, his medical history was shielded from state adoption officials.

Neither Jason nor his family appreciated the depths of his illness. He didn't seek followup care after being released each time, and his parents never reported his behavior to DCF.

Ultimately, Jason was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and a count of attempted murder. He awaits trial.

Josh Solomon, Times staff

2015 in Review: Troubled man charged with slaying niece, mother 12/30/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2015 6:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards


    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 


  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say


    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.