With the way that Ezequiel Almodovar, 39, was known to rave over his wife and children, often posting heartfelt tributes on social media, no one ever expected that he would one day turn on them.
A Florida community is in shock after Almodovar, a U.S. Customs Border Protection Officer, shot and killed his wife and two children before he turned the gun on himself.
Almodovar and his family had just vacationed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Tuesday in Bay Lake. On Facebook, Almodovar wrote about the trip, saying, “Family time… we needed this… no school, no work, no adult bulls– just family time enjoying life through eyes of kids… love you baby.”
He had also just shared a loving tribute to his wife as a Valentine’s Day gift, which makes the murder all the more confusing.
The family’s closest friends and family started to worry. They hadn’t heard from the family for a few days. Eventually, they called the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to visit the family’s home.
Sheriff John Mina told reporters, “Folks were concerned about the safety and well-being of the occupants inside that house.”
Officers arrived at the house around 3 pm on Thursday. There, they discovered “four deceased people.” Mina continued,
“All had been shot, one adult male, one adult female, and two juvenile males. Our preliminary investigation revealed that the adult male shot his family members and then shot himself. We are working this as a murder-suicide.”
At about 3 pm today, deputies were called to Corner Glen Drive. They forced entry into the home and found a family of four, dead in a murder suicide. pic.twitter.com/uqSNg1VXE4
— Orange County Sheriff’s Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) February 21, 2020
The only survivor in the home was the family pet, a Shih Tzu named Fluffy. Officers found the dog scared and frazzled.
Director of Field Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Diane Sabotina told ABC News,
“[We] are currently working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that any information needed for their ongoing investigation is made available.”
Bruce Lewis, Almodovar’s former brother-in-law spoke out, saying he was unaware of any issues going on with the family.
“I’m just devastated about this. His sister is not holding up that well. My son is devastated. He wasn’t a violent man. He wasn’t doing drugs…I don’t know what possessed him to be in a state of mind.” He also wasn’t involved in any sort of alcohol treatment centers.
A neighbor of the family, Michelle McCracken, told Fox News, “Absolute Shock. Absolute shock because it literally would have been the last group of people around here, in my mind, that this would happen to.”
She added, “They did seem like, very happy with each other. Very happy with the kids. Like I said, the kids were such good kids.”
Another neighbor, Marie Harris who lived next door said, “I cried. I cried because I was like, what happened? Why did it happen to the children?”
Almodovar had recently been transferred to a new post in Jacksonville. Notably, neighbors say the parents did not put a for sale sign in front of the house.