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Developing: Gainesville father and sons presumed dead in suspected murder/suicide in Dixie County

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 3:15 PM EDT
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DIXIE CO., Fla. (WCJB) -A Gainesville father and his two children are presumed dead and are the subject of a murder/suicide investigation after three bodies were discovered following a Dixie County house fire.

Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies began searching for Paul Reinhart and his sons early Tuesday morning after family members expressed concern about overnight texts and Facebook messages. When Reinhart and his 14-year-old and 11-year-old sons were not found in their southwest Gainesville home, the law enforcement search expanded, and Dixie County deputies eventually found Reinhart’s van outside a Dixie County home which was on fire.

“My heart goes out to the mother, the rest of the family,” said Gainesville Resident Julie Nance.

Three bodies were found in that home after the fire was put out, and deputies presume these bodies to be Paul Reinhart and his sons, Rex and Brody.

“It’s probably one of the most tragic events that any community can ever encounter. My heart and my prayers go out to the family and we ask everyone that’s involved and is hearing this to pray for not only that family, but for the communities. It’s a long process of healing and we just appreciate all the prayers and support that you can supply this family,” said Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler.

Nance believes this tragedy will impact a lot of people.

“The ripple effect of how many people are going to be affected by this is just unimaginable,” explained Nance, who is a mother of 5.

Three bodies, presumed to be the man and his two sons, 14 and 11 years old, were found near the...
Three bodies, presumed to be the man and his two sons, 14 and 11 years old, were found near the town of Suwannee in Dixie County.(WCJB)

ASO and DCSO are calling their process a murder/suicide investigation. They released this joint statement:

This morning, shortly before 6 am, deputies responded to a home in the 10000 block of SW 27th Avenue after a family member requested a well-being check on Paul Reinhart and his children. While responding, deputies also learned Paul Reinhart sent several cryptic Facebook posts overnight and sent concerning texts to family.

Upon arriving at the home in Alachua County, deputies were unable to locate Paul Reinhart or either of his children, Rex, 14 years of age or Brody, 11 years of age. His vehicle was also not present at the residence.

Brody attended Chiles Elementary and Rex attended Kanapaha until February. Additional counselors will be available at both schools tomorrow to provide support for students and staff.

An extensive search was initiated at several locations within Alachua County. Deputies also learned that Paul Reinhart had a home in Dixie County. Dixie County deputies were able to locate Reinhart’s van at a residence in their county that was found to be on fire. Upon extinguishing the fire, Dixie County deputies discovered three deceased individuals in the residence. Deputies presume these to be the bodies of Paul Reinhart and his two children. Dixie County authorities and FDLE will work with the Medical Examiner to make positive identification.

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