Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Deputies: Rios beat mother, niece to death with tire iron

NEW PORT RICHEY — Authorities identified the murder weapon they say Jason Rios used to beat his mother and two young nieces two weeks ago as a four-way tire iron.

After the attack was halted, arrest records released Tuesday evening indicate, Rios told his father that he had messed up.

Rios, 24, is facing murder charges in the deaths of his mother, Angela Rios, and 9-year-old niece, Jenica Randazzo, stemming from the Feb. 5 attack. The second niece survived her injuries. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco has described Rios as a paranoid schizophrenic who was possibly using drugs.

The report released Tuesday, along with a recording from a 911 call reporting the incident, indicate Rios took the tire iron from his parents' bedroom in the New Port Richey home he shared with them and four nieces and nephews.

Angela Rios was a double leg amputee who got around in a wheelchair.

On the morning of the attacks, according to the report, her husband, Ernesto Rios, got out of bed just before 8 a.m. to wake his four grandchildren for school. Ernesto told sheriff's deputies he found Jason Rios pacing in the hallway. He said he got in the shower and minutes later heard screams from his 7-year-old granddaughter's bedroom.

When he walked in the room, Ernesto told deputies, he found his son standing over the girl's bed, hands raised, ready to strike her again with the metal bar. The girl, La'Nyla Heater, had injuries on her face.

Ernesto struggled with his son, the report says, finally forcing him out the door. He told Rios to go to a nearby home, where a family member lived. On his way, Rios dropped the tire iron in the family's yard.

Sometime before Ernesto stopped Rios, his 13-year-old grandson tracked screams and a "whacking" sound to his grandparents' bedroom, where he found his grandmother's face bloodied and beaten. His uncle stood nearby holding the tire iron, the boy told deputies. The boy ran to the home of a neighbor, who called 911.

After an hourslong standoff, deputies arrested Jason Rios, who was hospitalized with self-inflicted injuries. He faces two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Jenica was hospitalized and died the next morning. Her grandmother was pronounced dead at the scene.

The boy who found his grandmother, Dominic Putnam, has since been placed in a foster home from which authorities have said he has twice run away.

All four children have spent much of their lives shuttling between the home of their maternal grandparents and foster care after their mother, Jessica Rios, lost custody of them.

Contact Katie Mettler at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kemettler.

Comments

Sinkhole opens up near Bayfront Health’s Brooksville hospital

BROOKSVILLE — A large sinkhole opened up by Bayfront Health Brooksville hospital in a water retention pond between State Road 50 and the hospital’s parking lot, according to a hospital spokeswoman.The sinkhole poses no threat to hospital buildings, e...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

TAMPA — An Ohio mother was struck by a speeding car and killed Wednesday while pushing a stroller across Bayshore Boulevard and her 21-month-old daughter was seriously injured, Tampa police said.The two were hit by a northbound car around 11:43 a.m. ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

CLEARWATER — A months-long probe into abuse of sick leave within the fire department concluded this week with the resignation of a deputy chief and the release of an internal review.The city paid $93,816 in unearned or unauthorized sick time, benefit...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

BROOKSVILLE— An 87-year-old wrong-way driver died Tuesday night when she collided head-on with an oncoming pick-up truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 8:50 p.m. on Sunshine Grove Road near Webster Street.Patri...
Updated: 2 hours ago
FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

A woman state authorities say was scammed out of $480,000 by two of her employees is an heiress to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Tuesday that the victim in the case is Helen Rich, 69, formerly Hel...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

In a scene repeated at public buildings across the country, the American flag in front of the library outside my office window was lowered to half-staff this week.This time for 10 dead in Texas.In February, the American flag was similarly half-staff ...
Published: 05/23/18
Largo man broke into jewelry store, cut himself on glass and bled all over everything, police say

Largo man broke into jewelry store, cut himself on glass and bled all over everything, police say

A Largo man was arrested Monday after police said he broke into the front door of a jewelry store and stole $10,000 in jewelry, but cut himself in the process and left blood all over the store.Police arrested Jaime Williams, 31, on a charge of burgla...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Police: St. Pete man who pried a safe out of the wall in custody

Police: St. Pete man who pried a safe out of the wall in custody

ST. PETERSBURG — It took more than an hour for a 25-year-old man to break into a restaurant, pry a safe out of the wall, drag it through the back and then wrestle it into his car, according to police.That was last week. Michael Murphy was arrested Tu...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Search underway for North Carolina man missing from Tampa-based Carnival Paradise

Search underway for North Carolina man missing from Tampa-based Carnival Paradise

The U.S. Coast Guard was searching Tuesday for a 50-year-old North Carolina man who reportedly fell off a Tampa-based cruise ship.The Coast Guard Key West received a call from the cruise ship Carnival Paradise about 10 a.m. saying the man, Brian Lamo...
Published: 05/22/18