The man suspected of killing his son's mother, her parents and another man in Hudson this week will remain in jail for now on an assault charge.
Adam Matos is the main suspect in the murders of Megan Brown, 27; her parents, Margaret and Greg Brown, both 52; and Megan's boyfriend, Nicholas Leonard, 37. Deputies found their bodies Thursday near a Hudson home where Matos, Megan Brown and her parents were living.
Although the four victims are identified in a search warrant, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Saturday the IDs are preliminary and the Medical Examiner's Office is working to positively identify two of the bodies.
Deputies discovered the bodies after they went to the Hudson home on Hattaras Drive to check on the welfare of Megan Brown and a 4-year-old boy who is the son of Brown and Matos. A massive manhunt for Matos ensued, and the suspect was arrested Friday at a Tampa hotel. Four-year-old Tristan, whom Matos had taken with him, was found unharmed.
Matos has not been charged with the murders, but he is being held on an aggravated assault charge stemming from an accusation he pulled a knife on Megan Brown on Aug. 28. Pasco County deputies had gone to the Hudson house on that day to investigate the incident.
A Hillsborough County Judge on Saturday granted Matos $200,000 bail on the assault charge, but ordered that Matos be held for extradition to Pasco County, where the alleged assault occurred. He was later transported to the Land O' Lakes Detention Center.
When deputies went back to the Hudson home on Thursday to check on Megan Brown and Tristan, they found blood, "a projectile" and a foul odor inside, according to a search warrant. A short time later, they discovered the four bodies stacked on top of each other in a grassy field about three-quarters of a mile away.
After the manhunt and a tip from a cab driver, investigators found Matos and Tristan at the Floridan Palace Hotel in downtown Tampa on Friday. Matos was arrested and Tristan was taken into protective custody.
Matos, 28, told reporters while being escorted from the hotel he had nothing to do with the killings. "I love my son and I hope that he's safe right now," he said.
Authorities are still not saying how the four were killed, but they are searching a canal for a gun and knife they believe were used in the murders, according to the warrant.
"Oh, it's just tragic," said Jim Sigler, who owns the Fisherman's Shack bar in Hudson and hired Brown two weeks before her death. "She just had it together. All she talked about was her kid. She was very fun loving, just a responsible-type person who, you know, was all there."
Sigler said he knew everything wasn't right at home for Brown. He said he got a text from Brown about the domestic incident on Aug. 28.
"She said, 'the baby's daddy put a knife to my throat, and I had to plead and grab the knife and cut my thumb,' " Sigler said. "And I said, 'well Megan, I think you need to call the police at this point.' "
Margaret and Greg Brown owned a Lehigh Valley kennel that had recently lost its license for employing a man who had once been convicted of animal cruelty at another kennel, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tara Cellini of Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, who owns the Florida home with her husband, Ben, and rented it to the Browns, said the couple and their daughter abruptly moved south a few months ago, saying "they were just tired of all the work up here and they wanted to go down there to slow their lives down and enjoy their lives."
She also said the family had trouble with Matos, whom Megan Brown had dated.
Residents who knew Megan Brown's boyfriend, Leonard, said he was the neighborhood handyman.
Jim Pingel and other neighbors said Leonard was a quiet man, and charged a fair price for his work.
“He trimmed the palm trees here and he done some work for the lady next door,” said Pingel.
Neighbors found it strange when Leonard dissappeard.
“I’ve never noticed him being gone that long, maybe a day or two, but it seemed like quite a while,” said neighbor Joan Wojtan.
Wojtan said she last saw Leonard on August 26 and he seemed very happy.
“He told me he was very happy," Wojtan said. "He had met this new girl, showed me her picture, and it turned out to Megan. And he was so happy.”
Wojtan said she asked Leonoard how the situation was working out in the house with Megan Brown's ex-boyfriend, Matos, still living there.
“He said the man understood that Megan was dating him and he was fine with it,” Wojtan said.
Detectives released only a few details about what specific evidence ties Matos to the slayings. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco did say Matos had been seen in the Hudson area recently and quickly became a suspect.
Court records in Pennsylvania show Matos had been arrested numerous times for harassment, theft, burglary, trespassing, assault and driving under the influence. He pleaded guilty to some of the charges, and others appear to have been dismissed.
Tristan will be cared for by his mother's family in New Jersey while permanent custody is worked out, family members said. One of the boy's aunts will pick up him from Pasco County, where he is being held in protective custody.