NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (AP) — Days before Megan Brown's body was found in a field with her slain parents and new boyfriend, deputies had responded to the family's rented waterfront home to investigate a report of domestic violence.
Authorities said Adam Matos, Brown's ex-boyfriend and the father of their young son, had threatened Brown and cut her finger with a knife. By the time deputies arrived, Matos was gone.
Over the course of that day Aug. 28, Matos called Brown and her mother more than 200 times, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said. Brown told her boss and a friend she was afraid for her life — and her boss offered her a place to stay. Brown declined.
About a week later, on Sept. 4, the bodies of Brown, her parents and her boyfriend were discovered in an open field about a mile away from the home.
Brown and her dad, Greg Brown, had been shot to death. Her mother, Margaret, had been knocked in the head, her hands tied behind her back and a plastic bag tied over her face. Brown's boyfriend, Nicholas Leonard, died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The sheriff said when deputies first responded, they learned Brown and Matos argued frequently. The deputy wanted to talk to Matos and did pursue an arrest warrant. Deputies gave Megan Brown a domestic violence booklet and information on a battered women's shelter.
"There are certain steps she needed to take," the sheriff said, adding that he wasn't trying to blame the victim.
"Adam Matos is a killer and that's what it comes down to," he said. "He killed four people, that's the main point."
Nocco said he suspected the motive for the slayings was "anger and rage."
Matos is in custody, facing four counts of first-degree murder and other charges. A message left at the public defender's office was immediately returned.
In a jailhouse interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Matos denied any involvement in the killings. He was denied bond Tuesday.
Matos was arrested after a brief manhunt. Authorities caught up with him at a hotel in downtown Tampa, where he had checked in with his 4-year-old son. The boy is now with family out of state, Nocco said.
The Brown family lived in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, as did Matos, but moved to Florida this summer for a fresh start. Matos had been staying with the Browns in a rented home along a canal leading to the Gulf of Mexico, even though they had split up. The sheriff said Brown wanted Matos to be in her son's life.
Both Matos and Megan Brown worked at restaurants near the home.
On Aug. 29, officials said Matos sold several items on Craigslist from the Browns' home, including the couple's dogs. One of the people who bought the dogs said he smelled a foul odor in the home.