FLORAL CITY — When the grandmother got home Thursday evening, the door to her daughter's room was already shut.
Vickie Maslowski figured her 23-year-old daughter and her three sons — all under the age of 5 — had gone to bed.
When Maslowski opened the bedroom door the next morning, she was greeted by a horrible and bloody scene.
Her daughter, Alicia Chomic, and the three boys were dead.
The mother and her two oldest sons lay on the bed. The youngest was in a bassinet.
Citrus County sheriff's officials said they believe Chomic shot her three sons in the mobile home sometime Thursday night, then turned the gun on herself.
Investigators believe the shootings occurred before Maslowski and her husband returned to the home about 8 p.m. Thursday. They slept through the night without realizing the carnage that lay in the bedroom near them.
Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said Friday that there was no evidence indicating that the boys — Tom Goldsmith Jr., almost 5; Damian Lietz, 21/2; and "Little" Anthony Lietz Jr., 15 months — were killed by anyone but their mother.
A gun was found at the home at 4983 E. Stoer Lane, but no suicide note. Authorities were at a loss for a motive.
The frantic call to 911 came at 10:09 a.m. Friday. Vickie Maslowski can be heard hysterically crying and screaming in the background as her husband, Greg Maslowski, talks to a 911 operator.
"Do you have any idea what happened?" asked the operator.
"No, ma'am," answered a shaken Maslowski. "I'm not going in the room."
The Maslowskis were so distraught after the discovery that they had to be hospitalized.
"It's very tough for us to pull a lot of information out," Dawsy said.
Officials said Chomic and her three boys moved in with her mother and stepfather about a week ago from Pasco County. Friends of Chomic were stunned.
"Why would she do that?" cried Tania Wiegand. "I don't understand what could have happened, because she loved those boys so much. She did everything for them."
But court records indicate Chomic didn't always have an easy life.
Thomas Anthony Goldsmith, her husband and father of the oldest child, is in prison on charges that he obtained prescription drugs by fraud. Court records show the 25-year-old Port Richey man was once accused of stalking and threatening to kill and rape Chomic — and was arrested for assaulting her when she was pregnant.
The father of the younger boys, Anthony Michael Lietz, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery for pushing Chomic in front of the oldest boy on Valentine's Day 2007, records show.
A call to his home Friday was answered by a woman who identified herself as a relative. She said he was too distraught to comment. "He's devastated right now," she said.
Alicia Chomic has no arrest record.
In May, she told Pasco sheriff's deputies that someone broke into her car and stole 120 tablets of the prescription painkiller Roxycodone from her purse. She was told to fill out a sworn statement to replace the prescription. But the deputy's last report said Chomic never contacted him again about the pills.
Chomic's friend Wiegand described her as sweet, soft-spoken — and quiet.
"If there was something wrong," Wiegand said, "only she would know."
The investigation into the deaths will continue, sheriff's officials said.
The violent deaths of the three boys echoed another brutal child crime in Citrus County: the 2005 kidnapping, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford.
"I can say it seems we've had our share of tragedies involving children," said sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney. "They're all heartbreaking stories.
"I know our deputies, our first responders, are pretty broken up about the whole scene."
Bucolic Floral City is best known for the tunnel of Spanish moss-draped live oaks on Orange Avenue. But it has its own macabre history.
A murder-for-hire plot that left four dead unfolded there in 1990 and led to a worldwide manhunt. Two men now serve life sentences for the crime.
St. Petersburg City Council Chairman John Bryan, 56, took his life in the city on Sept. 7, 2007. He was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his home hours after allegations surfaced that he had sexually abused two of his daughters.
Larry Regnier, a retiree who lives a tenth of a mile from the Maslowskis, was chainsawing Friday morning when he looked up and saw the deputies' cars speed down his road. He shook his head at the tragedy.
"I never heard anything."
Staff writers Camille Spencer and Stephanie Garry and researcher Will Gorham contributed to this report. Jodie Tillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.