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Quick apprehension in ‘extremely violent’ triple homicide

By Staff | Aug 14, 2015

A man who is in the country illegally has been arrested in the “extremely violent” murder of three family members, including a pregnant teen.

Brian Hyde, 19, who officials said is from Belize, has been charged with three counts of second degree murder, as well as homicide causing the killing of an unborn child. He is accused in the deaths of three Lehigh Acres residents, who were found dead shortly before noon Tuesday by officials answering a medical call.

Lt. Matt Sands of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit said Hyde, who had illegally entered the U.S. across the Texas border about seven months ago, lived at the same address as the victims, identified as Dorla Pitts, 37; Starlette Pitts, 17; and Michael Kelly Jr., 19, all of 3507 21st SW St.

Hyde is related to the two Pitts women; Dorla was his aunt, Starlette, a cousin.

Linking the killing of the victims and the unborn baby to Hyde came after officers with the Fort Myers Police Department stopped a vehicle at 2501 Ortiz Ave. on Aug. 11, the same day as the murders. Officers saw visible blood on Hyde’s pants and shoes and the Range Rover he was driving on the wrong side of the road was registered to the Southwest 21st Street address.

There were no signs that Hyde had injured himself.

Police immediately notified the Lee County Sheriff’s Office of the address where deputies and Major Crimes Unit detectives were already beginning the investigation of the triple homicide.

At a news conference Thursday held at the LCSO headquarters on Six-Mile Cypress Blvd., Sands said that the deputies and detectives who arrived at the house where the bodies were found said they had never witnessed such a chilling scene.

The victims had been killed with sharp forced trauma, Sands said, adding the scene was “extremely violent” and “unimaginable.”

They also found an uninjured 18-month-old baby in a bedroom.

Sands declined to say what type of weapon was used in the deaths, saying the investigation is still under way and some information is not being disclosed due to the probe. He also could not yet discuss a motive for the killings.

Federal immigration authorities have been notified.

The Citizen, a sister paper of The Breeze, was told after the news conference by one of the detectives that Hyde will be tried locally and, if convicted, will have to serve his sentence in the U.S. Then after that time, he will face deportation to Belize.

At the press conference, a five-page news release, describing in detail the narrative of how the bodies were found and how the suspect was arrested, was distributed.

According to the prepared statement, Dorla and Starlette Pitts lived in the home and Michael Kelly was the boyfriend of Starlette and the father of the 18-month-old toddler found alive. It was learned as the investigation progressed that Starlette was around six months pregnant.

According to police reports, Hilbert Lewis, who said he was a friend of the family and had grown up in the same area in Belize as Hyde, had been called by Dorla Pitts’ husband.

Lewis told investigators he received the phone call from Dorrien Pitts at around 11:24 a.m. asking him to drive to the home and check on his family. He told Lewis that he had been talking to his wife on the phone when it disconnected. He said several attempts were made to call his wife back, but he could not get a response and felt that something was wrong.

Lewis drove to the house and, upon his arrival, called Dorla Pitts’ cell phone. When he did not get an answer, he attempted to call the house phone, knocked on the front door and rang the doorbell, none of which resulted in contact.

Lewis then called Dorrien Pitts back and was given the digital code to unlock the front door. Lewis opened it, saw blood stains on the floor and what appeared to be someone’s foot extended past a couch. He went outside and called 911.

Authorities said Dorrien Pitts told officials that after he arrived from out of state that he was on the phone with his wife when she arrived home.

“As she entered the house she screamed out, “Brian, what happened here? What happened?” Lewis told investigators.

Detectives said that this is an important detail as it indicates Dorla Pitts came home to the bloody scene and realized what had occurred.

The report states that it means Hyde was inside the home when Dorla Pitts walked in and that she was killed after coming into contact him. Authorities also said that a bloody hand print was recovered from the crime scene and it matched a left palm print taken from Hyde.

The three murders raise the total to 12 homicides in Lehigh this year, twice the total of last year.

Hyde is being held in the Lee County Jail without bond.