Within a week, police in South Florida arrested two young people for allegedly killing the ones who raised them -- 17-year-old Tyler Hadley is charged with murdering both his parents with a hammer last Saturday in Port St. Lucie, and 21-year-old Gerard Lopes has been charged with killing his adoptive mother, who was reported missing the day after Hadley's parents were killed.
Police released some disturbing details about Hadley's supposed timeline soon after the alleged crimes were discovered, which included making a Facebook invitation for a party at his parents' place, then allegedly taking a 22-inch framing hammer to their heads before throwing a party with as many as 60 people at the house until early Sunday morning -- while his parents' corpses were on the floor in the bedroom.
Now, according to the friends of Gerard Lopes' mother, Natalie Belmonte, Lopes engaged in some similar behavior -- albeit a bit toned down from Hadley's -- after allegedly taking her life in Pembroke Pines.
In a weekend piece from Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo, he says he heard some disturbing details about Lopes on Friday during a candlelight vigil for Belmonte.
Mayo says friends told him that after Lopes allegedly killed his mother and disposed of her body but before he reported her missing, Lopes invited a friend to the house he and his mother lived in to watch the women's World Cup final.
Police haven't confirmed that statement, although it would be an eerie coincidence to Hadley's Saturday night, which also included hanging out with friends at the same house that an alleged murder took place in just hours before.
Mayo also says he heard another strange bit of information about Lopes at the vigil -- a friend says she saw Lopes kill a bird with a BB gun, then rip the bird open with his bare hands.
According to police, Lopes and his mother had gotten home from a family graduation party around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, and Lopes told investigators he noticed Belmonte was missing when he woke up the next morning.
A neighbor's surveillance camera had captured someone who police say looks like Lopes carrying "a large object" out of their house and driving away with it in Belmonte's Lexus.
That Lexus was later seen near a Dumpster at a nearby animal hospital -- the same Dumpster the cops found some bloody bedding in.
Police found Belmonte's body in a marsh less than a mile from their home Wednesday morning.
Lopes had previously been charged with stealing $20,000 in jewelry from his mother, although the cops have announced no motive in Belmonte's murder.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
He's currently being held without bond at the Broward County Jail.