He spent $ 200,000 on a “cam girl”. Police say the obsession led to a massacre.
Grant Amato had a problem and it was tearing his family apart.
Outside the walls of his family’s well-maintained home in a rural area northeast of Orlando, Florida, the 29-year-old could have been mistaken for another unlucky young man riding a rough patch – a lost his job, kicked out of school, live at home.
But inside the house, Amato would have swallowed all the money he could steal. He raised $ 150,000 from his parents, Chad and Margaret. His brother Cody lost $ 60,000; when that was gone, Amato allegedly stole his brother’s guns and sold them. Amato is said to have even taken out a loan of $ 65,000 on the house.
Amato threw all that money through his Internet connection, according to police, where he landed more than 5,600 kilometers in the Balkans. Since last June, he has been communicating with a Bulgarian woman – who has not been publicly identified. They met on Cam Girls, a pornographic website that was broadcast live. In three months, he had spent more than $ 200,000 to interact with the woman.
His family knew he had stolen the money and they knew where he was going. Her mother and father asked Amato to enter rehab for pornography addiction last December. Promises were made, a contract signed between parents and son. The family drama reached such an intense level that Cody told his girlfriend he feared his brother would “kill everyone,” according to an arrest affidavit filed recently by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
The authorities now believe it. Police found inside the family home on Friday morning the bodies of Chad, 59, Margaret, 61, and Cody, 31. All had been shot in what a police affidavit described as an “execution” type shooting. Amato is now in custody on three counts of first degree murder. Police alleged that his obsession with the girl from across the Atlantic propelled Amato to violence.
“I think we have mental health issues,” Jeffery Dowdy, the defendant’s attorney, told reporters this week, according to Orlando Fox 5. “A few months ago… He had checked in at an Internet addiction facility in Fort Lauderdale. He was gone there.
As Amato’s hours and money began to be consumed by his obsession with overseas last year, his life beyond the computer screen was also being lost.
On June 21, 2018, Amato was working as a registered nurse at AdventHealth Orlando. According to a police report, hospital staff discovered eight empty vials of propofol, a drug used as a sedative before surgery, in two rooms supervised by Amato. No doctor had ordered the drugs and records indicated that Amato had taken them from a storage machine.
When confronted with unauthorized drugs, Amato told hospital authorities “that he administered the drug to patients who were not sufficiently relaxed,” police said. declared report. The hospital believed he had also administered propofol incorrectly before.
During the confrontation, Amato expressed suicidal thoughts and the police were called. Officers arrested Amato and the hospital said it planned to prosecute, according to the police report, although public records do not indicate charges were ever laid. Amato’s brother’s girlfriend later told police that he was subsequently kicked out of anesthesiology school.
Amato’s online relationship intensified, in the meantime, and he continued to send large sums of money overseas. The family, watching Amato’s online craze drain their bank accounts, have reached a tipping point. According to the arrest affidavit, on December 22, his father Chad called a family reunion, with Margaret, Cody and his eldest son Jason. Chad told Amato that if he wanted to stay at home, he had to enter a 60-day sexual and pornographic rehabilitation center in Fort Lauderdale.
He agreed to leave, but moved away from the center before his treatment was completed on January 4.
After he returned home, his father presented Amato with a two-page list of rules he had to follow if he wanted to live at home.
One of the conditions was that he cease all communication with the Bulgarian woman. According to the arrest affidavit, Amato would later explain to police that he was okay with it, “but he didn’t think they were fair because he felt the Bulgarian woman was his girlfriend and that they had a relationship ”.
He continued to communicate with the woman on Twitter, however, according to the arrest affidavit. Soon after, her father found out that the message was still pending. On Thursday, the family confronted Amato again, telling him he had to get out of the house.
That night, Amato’s brother Cody was with his girlfriend when he got a call from his father asking Cody to come home. When the girlfriend asked what was wrong, he replied that it was “stupid” family nonsense, according to the arrest affidavit. She later texted her boyfriend for a status update.
“[A]It’s okay, ”he replied.
But when Cody didn’t show up for work the next morning, the girlfriend called the police to see the family.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the house at 9:17 a.m. Friday. No one responded to the blows. The windows and doors were all locked. Calls to family members went unanswered. The deputies even detonated the cruiser horn, but no one moved inside.
A member of Parliament finally slid the deadbolt on the back door with a knife. Chad was lying on his back on the kitchen floor, blood running to the floor. Cody was curled up in a fetal position on the floor of a storage room. Margaret was lying on the desk in her home office. Everything had been shot and a 9mm handgun was recovered from the scene.
Amato’s 1996 Honda Accord was missing from the house. Law enforcement issued a bulletin for the car and the next day police tracked down the Honda to a DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Orlando. Approached by investigators, he agreed to sit down for an interview. Amato described the family drama arising from his relationship with the Bulgarian woman.
But he denied killing his family, instead claiming he left home after his father confronted him about the Twitter messages. Later, Amato said he returned to the house and saw police and press vehicles in front of the house. He claims he ran away again.
After showing Amato gruesome photos from the crime scene – her father face up on the kitchen floor, her brother curled up in storage, her mother spilled over on her desk – investigators asked Amato if he “had remorse”.
According to the arrest affidavit, his “response was that his family had blamed him for months for ruining their lives, stealing and not following house rules, so he might as well be blamed for that too.”
Court records indicate that Amato will be formally indicted on March 26. Authorities have not indicated whether the unnamed camera model faces death-related charges.