Family member charged in Lehigh Acres triple homicide
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. – A 19-year-old family member has been charged with murder in the deaths of three people found inside a Lehigh Acres home on Tuesday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.
Brian Omar Hyde, of 3507 21st St. SW, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder and one count of killing an unborn child by harming the mother.
“This was an extremely violent scene, even for us,” said Lt. Matt Sands with the sheriff’s office. “This scene was unimaginable, what happened.”
Phone call led to discovery
Michael Kelly Jr., 19, Starlette Pitts, 17, and her mother, Dorla Pitts, 37, were found inside the 21st Street Southwest home. They died from “repeated sharp force trauma,” Sands said. Kelly had defensive wounds on his arms, according to a booking report.
Dorla Pitts is Hyde’s aunt. Starlette Pitts is his cousin, Sands said.
Kelly and Starlette Pitts had a one-year-old toddler, who was found alive inside a bedroom, Sands said. The baby girl is currently in the care of her grandfather, authorities said.
Starlette Pitts was approximately six months pregnant when she was killed, investigators said.
Deputies discovered the bodies Tuesday morning after responding to the home for a medical call, according to the report. Dorla Pitts was engaged in a phone conversation with her husband when she screamed Hyde’s name and said “What happened here, what happened,” the husband told detectives, according to the report.
“This is an extremely important detail that indicated the wife came home to the bloody scene and realized what occurred,” the report said.
The husband then called a family friend, who went to the home.
“(The family friend) opened the door and noticed blood stains on the floor and what appeared to be someone’s foot extended past the couch,” the report said. “Frightened, Lewis left the door open, retreated back to the roadway and called 911.”
Traffic stop led to suspect
Investigators focused on Hyde after he was pulled over by Fort Myers police for driving on the opposite side of the road, Sands said. The traffic stop occurred a few hours after the bodies were discovered.
“Brian Hyde had visible blood on his pants and shoes,” the report said.
Hyde was driving Dorla Pitts’ white Range Rover, investigators said. Once the vehicle was traced back to the home, “that’s when the first connection was made,” Sands said.
Blood was later found on Hyde’s hands and feet, as well as on a floor board and laptop computer inside the vehicle, the report said.
“A back pack full of male laundered clothes was located in the back seat along with several pairs of shoes, making it appear as if Hyde was about to flee the area,” the report said.
Dorla Pitts’ North Collier Hospital identification was in the front passenger seat, the report said. She had worked at the hospital for three years, hospital spokesman Debbie Curry said.
“The NCH Healthcare System family is saddened to learn of the passing of fellow staff member Dorla Pitts,” Curry said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this very difficult time.”
Charges provide some closure
Thursday’s announcement was not surprising to Sherri Flemming, Kelly’s mother. She described Hyde as quiet, someone who distanced himself from others and had “a bad vibe” when she met him.
“It’s so sad that they, you know they trusted him,” she said. “They opened up their home and welcomed him in, took him in, Star and her mother, because that’s their family.”
Flemming added that her son and Starlette Pitts included Hyde in family events and made him feel welcome.
“I do have some closure that you know, he’s caught he’s in custody,” she said. “I know he’s not going nowhere. I don’t know what his intention was, I just don’t know.”
Hyde, who was initially arrested for driving without a license, is an illegal alien from Belize who entered the country through Texas seven months ago, Sands said.
Deportation proceedings were in progress when he was arrested, Sands said.
While answering questions, Sands referred back to the crime scene.
“It’s the nature of our job to see homicide scenes and most of them are violent,” he said. “But this one took it to a whole ‘nother level.”