HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A man and woman died in an apparent murder-suicide in a Lake Magdalene-area neighborhood, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Chad Chronister said deputies were dispatched at around 7 p.m. Monday to a house on Cherry Lake Drive to look for a woman whose friends told deputies they hadn’t heard from her in 24 hours.
While conducting the welfare check, deputies tried to speak with suspect Charles Siminski, 52, but he refused to cooperate.
Chronister said as deputies looked around the home, they noticed a Jeep backed up to the home’s front door. Inside, they saw what they thought was a body wrapped in a black garbage bag in the back of the Jeep.
The body was that of a woman, estimated to be in her 40s. Chronister said the victim suffered significant head trauma, and that the Jeep utility vehicle belonged to her.
After finding the body, the deputies called their supervisor, bringing in SWAT and negotiation teams to try to reach a peaceful resolution. Chronister said the standoff ended up lasting approximately 12 hours.
“We introduce chemical irritant into the house, into a room we believe he’s in. There’s no response,” Chronister said. “Now prior to this, dialogue had stopped for about an hour and a half. That’s why we decided…to ramp things up a bit.”
The sheriff said there was no response after this, so deputies broke the back windows of the house’s bedroom, where they saw that the suspect had fatally shot himself.
According to the sheriff, the woman visited the home of her own free will 24 hours before she was found. Both she and Siminski had a history of domestic violence issues.
“Our victim spent a lot of time here, but she does have another address,” the sheriff said.
Before to their deaths, the victim had two pending cases of domestic violence against Siminski in September and December. In the case in December, the victim allegedly suffered a head wound after she jumped out of a limousine she shared with Siminski because she feared for her life, according to the sheriff.
In light of the “senseless loss of life,” Chronister asked victims of domestic violence to seek help before it’s too late.
“Don’t ever stay in a situation because you think you have to and end up like our victim did today,” he said. “Please, contact the Spring of Tampa Bay at 813-247-SAFE (7233).”