HUDSON — Their last Pennsylvania winter behind them, Maggie and Greg Brown packed up the RV and set out for Florida.
Paradise, Maggie told her friends. Shopping in Miami. The Keys in winter. Beaches and sunsets in between.
After the long trip south, they moved two months ago to a rented Hudson home with a swimming pool and a hot tub and a boat dock. They settled in with daughter Megan, grandson Tristan, and Megan's former boyfriend, Adam, the boy's father.
Megan began bartending at the nearby Fisherman's Shack. Two weeks ago, a customer fell hard for her. This could be the one, Nick Leonard told a neighbor, though he knew Megan lived with her ex and their son.
Maggie shared her own bliss with Facebook friends — Aug. 26 marked the Browns' anniversary.
"I am sitting under this lovely tree, on a dock, in the mangrove, fish are jumping, breeze is blowing. Sun is shining, and I am with my husband of sooooo many years, perfect day for an anniversary," Maggie posted that morning. "Happy happy joy joy."
The joy met a quick end.
Two days later, early Aug. 28, Megan texted her new boss to say that Adam had pulled a knife on her. He urged her to call the police, but never saw her again.
Maggie and Greg, both 52, Megan, 27, and Nick, 37, were all discovered murdered last week, their bodies stacked near a road a half mile from the Brown home, apparently dead for days.
Investigators say their sole suspect is Adam Matos, 28, who was captured early Friday at a downtown Tampa hotel, with Ismael "Tristan" Santisteban in tow.
Authorities whisked the little boy, who is autistic, to safety with relatives. They took Matos to jail.
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Investigators said Matos fled with Tristan sometime after the murders — taken by cab to the Floridan Palace Hotel in Tampa.
They said he had visited the Greyhound bus station to inquire about routes and fares and was headed to Key West. The earliest bus that would have taken him there was scheduled to leave Tampa at 9:30 a.m. Friday. But by then, Matos had been arrested and was being booked in jail.
Matos has a long criminal history that began in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, north of Philadelphia, in 1999 when he was charged as a juvenile with marijuana possession and received probation, according to the Morning Call, the valley's largest newspaper.
Matos would be hit with at least 10 different criminal charges from 2000 to 2010, from retail theft, auto theft, burglary, DUI, trespassing and simple assault, the newspaper reported.
That included a neighborhood crime rampage during which he stole $26,000 in goods and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile detention center, the Morning Call reported.
In 2007, Matos was accused of breaking into the apartment of a woman he had previously dated, according to the Morning Call. When she returned home with a male friend, Matos attacked him, the newspaper reported. Matos was charged with assault and trespassing, according to the Morning Call.
On Saturday, he was transferred from Hillsborough to the Pasco County Jail in Land O'Lakes, where he was ordered held on an aggravated assault charge. Although the Pasco Sheriff's Office has named him as the quadruple murder suspect, he has not been charged with the killings.
Investigators continued Saturday to comb the Hudson home, at 7719 Hatteras Drive, and the canal behind it for evidence.
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Nicholas "Nick" Leonard was cheerful, kind and helpful, always wearing a smile, said neighbor Joan Wojtan.
He and his mother moved into a ranch-style home on Woodchuck Way in Hudson about 10 years ago. His mother, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, later moved. And so he lived alone, Wojtan said.
A self-employed handyman, he regularly helped Wojtan with home repairs. She saw him at least twice after he met Megan Brown at the Fisherman's Shack on Old Dixie Highway. The low-slung bar on the edge of a creek beckons customers with promises of manatee sightings and $2.50 moscato.
Nick proudly showed Wojtan a photo of Megan. He had her over for dinner. He'd only known her a short time, but he was excited.
"I think he was thinking ahead of a time that they were going to live happily ever after," Wojtan said. "He said, 'I think this is it, Joanie.' "
He told her Adam Matos was staying with the Browns, but that he was far from hostile.
"He said he was nice and friendly and he had no problem with Nick dating her or seeing her son," Wojtan said.
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Megan Brown was sharp and friendly, said Fisherman's Shack owner Jim Sigler. She doted on Tristan, talking often about her "little man."
She had said her family wanted to eventually land in the Keys. She had a good relationship with her parents but was unsure whether she would go, too, Sigler said.
Early on Aug. 28, Megan sent a text message to Sigler saying that Matos had put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her, but she didn't say what had sparked the confrontation.
Sigler told her to call for help. But she didn't show up for her 6 p.m. shift.
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The Browns appeared to have struggled financially before moving from Pennsylvania, perhaps in part due to health problems.
In 2013, while still Pennsylvania residents, Greg and Margaret "Maggie" Brown filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Among their debts were large medical bills, including $22,000 owed to a hospital.
The couple also listed two outstanding student loans totalling $21,000 taken out on behalf of daughter Megan. Records do not show what school she attended.
Saturday, friends turned to social media to remember the victims and offer support.
On gofundme.com, more than $1,800 in donations for the Brown family had been raised by Saturday evening.
"Megan, Maggie and Greg," the site said, "have touched all our lives in amazing ways. Words cannot describe all the hurt we are feeling right now, they were the most loving family and opened their arms to anyone and everyone."
"I will always remember all 3 of you," Jamie Lewis wrote, donating $50. "May you rest in peace."
Times researcher Carolyn Edds and staff writer Keeley Sheehan contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8779. Contact William R. Levesque at email@example.com or (813) 226-3432.