‘It’s horrific’: Elderly couple killed in their Lakeland home likely knew attacker, police say

Polk County

Courtesy: Molina family

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Neighbors are in shock over a warm, friendly elderly couple who police say were murdered in their Lakeland home.

“It’s horrific! It is really horrific. They didn’t deserve it,” said Liz Hardy, who has lived in the King’s Manor Mobile Home Park for over a decade.

She enjoyed a warm, cordial relationship with her neighbors, the Molinas.

“Irma was a very cheerful woman. Every time you’d go by and she’d be sitting out, she’d have a warm smile and a wave,” said Hardy. “He had a work shed out back and you could always hear tap tap tap, things going on. They were just nice neighbors.”

The couple’s family identified Francisco and Irma Molina as the victims of a gruesome double murder in the mobile home park.

The investigation was launched after officers performed a welfare check at the Molinas’ home early Sunday morning. A family member had called police after not hearing from the couple in several days.

“Our officers went out and checked on the welfare and certainly found the scene they were not prepared to find. It was a very sad scene,” said Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia. “It’s just one more incident that these officers see that they’ll never unsee. That’s something that we constantly monitor our officers for is their overexposure to stuff like that.”

Police believe the couple knew the attacker.

“There’s no indication of any kind of criminal activity other than the murder itself,” said Chief Garcia.

Detectives are interviewing family members and potential witnesses. They are not releasing how the couple was killed at this time.

Chief Garcia said this murder is unrelated to two other unsolved homicides in Lakeland this summer: the murder of Jeannie Dominguez, a young mother killed in front of her children, and Takeria Adderly, whose remains were found weeks after she was reported missing.

All cases, Garcia said, appear to have been perpetrated by someone the victims knew.

“Preliminarily it appears that there were would have been some familiarity with the victims and the suspects in all three of the cases,” said Chief Garcia.

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