Bell tragedy: Dash cam vid & FDLE report released reveal motive
BELL, Fla-- A tragedy involving the murder of six kids in a small town of North Central Florida by their own grandfather may sound inexplicable. While many have asked why—TV20 has received new dash cam video and a report by state law enforcement that uncovers a possible reason behind it.
The six kids and their mother are buried, right behind the Wayfair Baptist Church at the Wayfair Cemetery which is very close to their great grandmother Stewart's home. A proximity that she says makes the pain all the more real.
All of these tombstones have one thing in common: September 18th 2014. It's a date that has scarred three families, the Spirits, Kulhmanns and Stewarts forever. Things just haven't been the same after 51-year-old Don Spirit killed his daughter and 6 grandkids. In a 911 call, Spirit told a dispatcher, "Yes, m'am, I just shot my daughter and all my grandkids. And I'll be sitting on my step and when you get here I am going to shoot myself."
There are still some deep sentiments that run through this little town of Bell. A lot of the friends, family and residents I spoke to, don't want to revisit the tragedy.
After shooting 7 of his relatives but before turning the gun on himself, Spirit yelled profanities at deputies and explained that he was angry at Collene Stewart-- the aunt of the father of the three youngest children killed by spirit. You can see the encounter between officials and Spirit in a dash cam video released by the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office. Spirit told deputies he blamed Collene Stewart for his daughter's engagement in drugs and solicited sex.
Spirit is quoted telling one deputy, "I am not mad at you… I am mad at the Stewarts. Collene Stewart has turned Sarah (Spirit) into a wh*** and drugs and I am fed up with this whole family. The Stewart family, they’ve ruined my family, they’ve ruined my life and I am just tired of them all.”
Detectives interviewed Collene Spirit, who says she was at the home the day before the gruesome crime. She says she overheard Spirit tell his daughter that “her kids were not worth sh**, tell someone to come get them because I don’t love them, I hate them.”
In the report, Spirits ex-wife told officials that spirit was bi-polar and that to her knowledge he was using illegal narcotics. The report also says that Sarah Spirit was unemployed and providing her father with money from sexual acts she performed with a man in Trenton.
I spoke to Aletha Stewart, the great grandmother of the kids. While she would not go on camera she tells me that her daughter Collene shouldn't be blamed for something that couldn't be prevented.
Great grandmother Stewart says she's waiting for a miracle. And in the meantime she has bought green flip flops for little Brandon. Green because that was his favorite color and flip flops because that's all he wore, she'll be leaving those here on her next visit.
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