Sisters Mystified by Slaying of Their Octogenarian Parents Inside Florida Home

Sisters Mystified by Slaying of Their Octogenarian Parents Inside Florida Home
Homicide detective Leann Swisher (L), and homicide Sergeant Donald Geiger point out a sticker, top, and damage, below, on photos of the victims' vehicle during a news conference regarding the double homicide of Major Melvin and Claudette Melvin, at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on April 3, 2024. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—After the killing of their octogenarian parents last month in their South Florida home, Kim Melvin Hill and Tonya Mitchell went before a bank of TV cameras seeking answers on Wednesday. Why were they killed? Who would have done this? And where can the killer or killers be now?

The youngest of 11 children of Major and Claudette Melvin, they are mystified as to why anyone would kill their elderly parents inside their Fort Lauderdale home and, it appears, only steal their 10-year-old Ford.

“We’re angry. We’re angry. We’re very angry,” Ms. Hill said of the killings, which happened on March 22. “We ask those questions, but we are Christian people as well…so I can’t put my mind that way because if you believe in God, he has your time, your place and how.”

Her sister was more blunt.

“This maggot,” Ms. Mitchell said of the killer.

The case has drawn major attention in South Florida and the Fort Lauderdale police have issued a nationwide alert for the couple’s red 2014 Ford Focus, Florida license plate LTDQ16.

Homicide Sgt. Donald Geiger said Wednesday there is no indication the car has left the area, but declined to say if it has been detected since the slayings by automated license plate readers that dot many of the region’s main roads.

Mr. Geiger was tight-lipped about details of the slayings, but Ms. Mitchell previously told reporters that her 89-year-old father was shot as he slept on the living room couch and her 85-year-old mother was then shot as she came out of the bedroom. The killer left behind their mother’s purse and other valuables, Ms. Mitchell said previously. Claudette Melvin’s brother, who has special needs, was in the house but wasn’t harmed. His sisters have said he couldn’t provide any information.

A $5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to a suspect’s arrest.

The Melvins had been married for 60 years. He was a retired backhoe operator, while she had worked in housekeeping at a hospital. They had 28 grandchildren.

“They were the most loving people I have ever known,” Ms. Hill said. “They lived in that area for (50) years and whoever this perpetrator is needs to….” Her voice then trailed off as she stopped mid-sentence, overcome by tears.

“They didn’t deserve this,” her sister said.

By Terry Spencer

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