WEEKI WACHEE — Joey Hattenbrun finished her shift as a CVS pharmacy technician at 10:30 p.m. Friday.
An hour later, her husband found her dying on their driveway. Her head had been crushed. Hattenbrun, who was 30 and the mother of a 3-year-old boy, was flown to Bayfront Medical Center, where she died.
"She was the kindest, sweetest girl," her mother, Carolyn Crouch, said Saturday in between broken sobs. "Everyone loved her."
The Hernando Sheriff's Office said little Saturday of possible suspects or motives in Hattenbrun's slaying. Detectives have been interviewing her family members, friends and neighbors, sheriff's Cpl. Wendy McGinnis said.
Crouch said her son-in-law, Chad Hattenbrun, 34, spent Friday evening with his son at his brother's house. She said he told her that he came to their home at 6492 Owl Road a little after 11:30 p.m. and found his wife beaten near her car in the driveway.
The home is on a wooded, quiet street near Weeki Wachee. Neighbors said there have been burglaries in the area. Crouch said she doesn't know if her daughter startled a thief or if someone followed her home from work. She can't imagine anyone wanting to kill her daughter.
"We have no idea," Crouch said.
Chad Hattenbrun could not be reached on Saturday. His parents live a few houses down the street on Owl Road. His mother said she was too upset to talk about what happened.
Crouch said her daughter and son-in-law met on a blind date 12 years ago. They were married in 2005.
"He's very broken up" about his wife's death, Crouch said. Chad Hattenbrun works as a distributor for the Coors Brewing Co., Crouch said. The couple spent years building their home on Owl Road. Chad Hattenbrun built it by hand with his father and brother, and the couple moved in a few years ago, Crouch said.
Linda Cook lives next door and said she never heard fighting or anything unusual from the home. She said she often saw the young family walking from their house to Chad Hattenbrun's parents' house and vice versa.
Cook, 50, said she is shaken and scared.
"We thought we lived on a quiet street," she said.
The Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information to call (352) 754-6850.
Times staff researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.