‘You’re going to live with this the rest of your life’, a depressed dad texted to his estranged wife before he wa found dead inside a burning Florida vacation home with their two sons in murder-suicide
lachua County Sheriff’s office and fire reports shed light on what happened in the two hours before Paul Reinhart was found dead along with his two sons on May 5
Authorities believe Paul, 46, killed his boys Brody, 11, and Rex, 14, before taking his own life after losing his highly paid executive job, as well as, losing his wife in a short time frame
Minde Reinhart, 42, Paul’s ex-wife, received texts from her husband early at 6 am on May 5, in which he blamed her for everything he was going through
When Minde arrived at couple’s empty home in Gainesville, Florida, she found 400 of their wedding photos scattered on the floor – She told a 911 operator Paul had posted 64 wedding photos on his Facebook that morning
Two hours later, a firefighter entered Reinharts’ burning vacation home in Dixie County and found Paul and his sons dead on a bunk bed
This was not first case of domestic homicide in the Reinhart family
Erick Von Reinhart is serving 40 years in jail for murder, after stabbing his ex-wife’s boyfriend
Erick, 49, Paul’s older brother, pled guilty to second-degree murder after stabbing his ex-wife’s boyfriend , Alex Illiff, 33, in Pasco County in 2014
Erick then tried to kill himself with the murder weapon, a kitchen knife
He was found on the bathroom floor, bleeding from self-inflicted stab wounds to his neck and stomach
Paul Reinhart texted his estranged wife on the morning of May 4, saying: ‘You’re so selfish. You’re going to live with this the rest of your life.’ Two hours later, he was found dead along with his two sons, 11-year-old Brody and Rex, 14, inside the family’s burning vacation home in Gainsville, Florida.
The popular, gregarious figure across social and political circles in his community, is suspected of killing his sons, before killing himself, too, earlier this week. Reinhart, 46, a once-successful business executive – popular, gregarious figure across social and political circles in his community, authorities suspect, killed Brody, 11, and Rex, 14, last Tuesday at the family’s waterfront home near Suwannee on Florida’s west coast.
He allegedly, then set the house on fire and killed himself, investigators. However, cause of death for the dad and his boys has not been released.
The Gainsville Sun reports that shortly before the tragedy, Reinhart sent a text to his estranged wife Minde Reinhart saying: ‘You should have put your family first. Now it’s too late. You’re so selfish. You’re going to live with this the rest of your life.’
Minde had recently filed for a divorce from Paul after 20 years of marriage. He had disappeared into the night with the couple’s two young sons.
After receiving the text, Minde replied: ‘Please don’t hurt yourself or the boys. Please come home.’ She never received an answer.
The text message from her estranged husband arrived at 5:39 a.m., even as Minde Reinhart was already on the phone with a sheriff’s dispatcher pleading for help and searching for answers.
She replied by text: “Please don’t hurt yourself or the boys. Please come home.”
No answer. He had stopped texting, she told a 911 dispatcher.
By then, Minde had been on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. She had became alarmed when at 5am on May 4, she learned that her husband had published on his Facebook account 64 of their old wedding photos from their big day in 2001.
The mother-of-two raced to the family’s home in Gainesville, which she shared with her husband and their children until the couple’s separation. There, she found some 400 photos from her and Paul’s wedding scattered all over the residence, but no sign of her husband, their children, or the family dog.
‘This is just really weird,’ Minde told the 911 operator, as the Sun reported. She has since shared a moving Facebook tribute to her sons as ‘Angels among us.’
The suspected murder suicide has chilling echoes of the case of Paul’s brother Erik Von Reinhart.
In 2018, Erik admitted to fatally stabbing his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, just one week after their divorce, before he tried to take his own life with a kitchen knife.
All that in mind, Minde Reinhart, 42, raced through darkness to the luxury home in a gated community in Gainesville where she lived until recently with her husband and sons. Paul wasr depressed having recentlyhusband — who separated from his wife and recently lost his high-paying executive job
Paul was a successful executive of a medical device sales firm and living in a $900,000 home in Gainesville until his world began unraveling: He lost his job as president of his namesake company, Reinhart Medical LLC, and he was recently separated from his wife.
Minde said he never expressed suicidal thoughts, was not being treated for mental illness or taking medication, and he did not own a gun.
‘He has, before this happened, said he had awful, inappropriate thoughts in his brain,’ she said. ‘That’s all he said, in his mind. He never had said he’s going to kill himself or ….Oh, my God. I don’t know.’
When Minde entered her sons’ bedroom, she found Rex and Brody’s cellphones, which meant there was no way for her to contact them directly. She also was unable to track her husband’s cellphone online because he had changed the password on the home computer.
Paul’s final text to Minde came in at 5.39am. After that, he stopped answering his wife’s messages and calls.
lachua County deputies began scouring the area for the father and children, and alerting local institutions and businesses.
Less than an hour into the search, a deputy got a call from a neighbor living near the Reinharts’ vacation home outside Suwannee, Dixie County, saying that Paul’s van was parked outside.
Dixie County Sheriff’s deputies received a message about the van 16 minutes later, at 6.39am. At 7.03am, one of the Dixie County officers told his counterpart in Gainesville that he was about 20 minutes away from the vacation home.
But 10 minutes later, a neighbor called 911 to report a fire raging at the Reinhart family’s vacation home.
The deputy who arrived on the scene was unable to enter the home because of the intensity of the blaze, which left windows and door handles too hot to touch.
One of the firefighters who responded to the call 19 minutes later entered the burning home in protective gear, made his way upstairs and encountered a pile of debris in front of one of the bedrooms, which he had to crawl over to get inside.
There, he later reported feeling something ‘abnormal’ on the bottom bunk bed, which turned out to be Brody Reinhart’s dead body. His brother, Rex, and the boys’ father were found dead on the top bunk.
‘There was no one to save,’ the firefighter wrote in his report.
It has since been determined that the fire was deliberately set using an accelerant and a lighter. It took firefighters five minutes to extinguish the flames.
The tragedy comes 29 months after Paul’s older brother, Eric Von Reinhart, pled guilty to second-degree murder after stabbing his ex-wife’s boyfriend, Alex Illiff, 33, in Pasco County in 2014.
Paul financed his brother Erick’s legal defense, said Regine Iliff, Alex’s mother.
Regine Iliff, said she had heard news reports this week about the father suspected of killing his children and himself but did not know until a reporter told her that the suspected killer was Paul, the younger brother of the man sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing her own son.
‘That sounds so much like Erick,’ Iliff said, her voice trembling. She said she still struggles to discuss her son’s death.
‘My heart is broken, aches all the time,’ she wrote in a letter to the judge in August 2014. ‘His loss has turned my life upside down, and the world as I knew it will never be the same.’
In court papers, Erick described himself as diagnosed with a ‘major depressive disorder and severe anxiety.’
In the stabbing in 2014, deputies found Erick bleeding from his neck and stomach from self-inflicted stab wounds on the bathroom floor after he had killed Iliff.
Erick’s estranged wife, Amy Reinhart, hid inside her family’s home during the attack and called 911. The Pasco County sheriff, Chris Nocco, said Erick pleaded with deputies, ‘Kill me, kill me,’ but he was hospitalized and pleaded guilty in November 2018.
Erick left his own children, then 5 and 6, home alone during the attack, authorities said.
After he was sentenced, Erick complained to the judge that his defense lawyer had been ineffective, saying his brother had uncovered important information she had missed during the discovery phase of the court case.
He said he would have agreed to a 25-year prison sentence. The judge in December denied his request for a shorter prison term, but a new request is under consideration. Erick is expected to be released from prison in September 2053.
Rex and Brody Reinhart were both youth baseball players in the Gainesville area prior to their tragic deaths, with Rex playing as both a pitcher and hitter for the Florida Heat.
Elite Baseball posted about their deaths on Facebook on May 4, claiming the organization was ‘heartbroken.’
‘Our boys Brody and Rex were tragically taken from us much too soon. Their love for baseball is unmatched and their impact on the baseball world will never be forgotten,’ the post says.
‘Near and far, these boys were immensely loved across organizations. Brody had the heart of a lion, and Rex’s determination to be the best on the field was unrivaled. We feel utterly lost and broken.’
The Florida Heat also posted on Facebook about Rex’s death.
‘Rex made an immediate impact on the team and in the lives of his teammates, both on and off the field,’ their post read. ‘He was kind, generous, funny, talented, and a bit of a fashion icon with his flow and sunglasses. His loss is profound and we are reeling.’
Brody was a student at Chiles Elementary, while his older brother Rex was a student at Kanapaha Middle School.
The Rex and Brody Reinhart Memorial Fund has been administered by the Community Foundation of North Central Florida.
The fund’s descriptions says: ‘The Rex and Brody Reinhart Memorial Fund was established by friends and family to honor the boys and support the causes they cared about most.’
On Wednesday evening, a mural was painted in Gainesville to honor the two boys.