Florida family killed by father in apparent murder-suicide identified

Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) —A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent killed his wife and two children in Orange County before turning the gun on himself, authorities in Orange County said Thursday.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that those found dead at the Corner Glen Drive home in east Orange County have been identified as Ezequiel Almodovar, 39, Marielis Soto, 38, Ezequiel Almodovar, 16, and Gabriel Almodovar, 12.

Sheriff John Mina said the older Ezequiel Almodovar shot the three other family members and then himself.

The tragic case has people across Central Florida asking what could drive a father to kill his family.

Family members arrived at the home on Friday to gather some belongings, while a young boy came by and left a basketball with flowers next to a palm tree.

A picture from a family vacation shows the entire family posing in a swimming pool.

Marie Harris, who lives next door, said her nephew was friends with Gabriel.

“I cried. I cried because I was like, what happened? Why did it happen to the children?” Harris said.

Investigators said the older Almodovar worked as an officer for Customs and Border Protection at Orlando International Airport. Deputies were called to the home by someone concerned for the family’s well-being after they hadn’t been seen in a week.

Neighbors told WESH 2 News that they didn’t hear anything suspicious.

“They did seem, like very happy with each other, very happy with the kids. Like I said, the kids were such good kids,” a neighbor said.

Ezequiel Almodovar’s Facebook page includes a post from a week ago calling Soto, his forever Valentine, and another from last Tueaday that said the family was enjoying a day together at Animal Kingdom. “Enjoying life through the eyes of kids,” the caption said.

Investigators have not said why they believe the killings happened, or why they believe Almodovar was the killer. They have also not said when they believe the family was killed.

Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol released a statement on Friday.

“CBP’s Miami & Tampa Field Offices are saddened to learn of the deaths of one of our officers, who before taking his own life, took the lives of his wife and two children. We are devastated by this tragic loss and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.

We are currently working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that any information needed for their ongoing investigation is made available.”

The agency confirmed to WESH 2 News that Almodovar had recently been transferred to a new post in Jacksonville, but neighbors said they never saw any for sale signs on the house.Play Video

On Friday night, the AAU Boys Basketball team took to the hardwood and remembered the two boys who played on the team.

“It’s just tragic news you just don’t want to see, especially your teammate you just don’t want to see nobody go like that,” Brennan Lewis said.

Before practice the teammates got together and said a prayer outside the families home.

“We did two prayers. We did a 12-second and a 24-second, Gabriel wore 12 and his brother wore 24, so we just wanted to go ahead and do a moment of silence,” Lewis said.

The team’s coach said the Lightning will continue to support the family and come March 7, the first game, they’ll be wearing uniform patches in honor of the boys.

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