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Largo home was a deadly trap for teen mom when owner went on rampage

LARGO — The teenage girl was caught in a wheel beyond her years.

The story is twisted and complicated. Unpaid rent, restraining orders, heated fights.

Taylor Reiterman, 16, was killed Sunday night in a murder-suicide that claimed two other lives and forever changed a fourth one, barely begun.

Reiterman was already married, already a mother. She had given birth to a baby girl at 14.

She wed the father two years later. But shortly after, she was living in a house with a new boyfriend, his mother and a landlord on the edge. "I know it looks bad," said her aunt, Danielle Ellis. "She was young."

Reiterman was born in 1992 to a mother who was 15.

• • •

Michael Roberts, who owned the Largo home where the shooting happened, wanted his tenants out, his family said. He snapped Sunday and shot all three, then his dog and himself.

Sherry Lynn Hice, 46, survived, but was critically wounded. Her son, Tyler Newman, 21, was killed, as was Reiterman.

Why was a 16-year-old girl in the middle?

"She was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Ellis.

Her niece was "sweet and beautiful," she said. She was independent and close to her mother, April Rinehart, 31.

Rinehart had four other children, court records show; Reiterman was the oldest. In 2002, Rinehart was charged with child neglect. The police report said she let a child live in an unsanitary mobile home. The charge was dropped.

Rinehart also was twice arrested in 2007 on charges she committed domestic battery on a boyfriend. She received probation in both cases.

How her daughter's path unfolded is unclear.

"She didn't have nothing to do with the problems that was over there," her husband, Steven Cavanaugh, told Fox 13 Monday. "She had her own problems. Just because she was there she was shot because of somebody being stupid."

Ellis said her niece was dating Tyler Newman, 21, also killed in the shooting. Roberts' daughter Carolyn, once friends with Newman, said Reiterman's recent presence in the home further upset her father.

"He didn't want someone committing statutory rape in his house," Carolyn Roberts said.

After Reiterman's body was discovered, the Department of Children and Families removed her baby from Rinehart's custody, said spokesman Terry Field. Reiterman's baby will remain in foster care for now. The state will determine her path.

Times researcher Caryn Baird and staff writer Rita Farlow contributed to this report. Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com. Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com.

Largo home was a deadly trap for teen mom when owner went on rampage 03/31/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 9:34pm]

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