A father in Cross City, Florida is believed to have killed himself and his two young sons on Tuesday.
The tragedy is even more devastating when help up against a similar incident perpetrated by the man’s brother several years ago following his own murder conviction.
The Dixie County Sheriff’s Office reports that Paul Reinhart, 46, killed his two sons, 14-year-old Rex and 11-year-old Brody, before setting his luxury vacation home on fire and killing himself, though it’s not clear how he died.
The three were all found dead on the scene, according to The Gainesville Sun. The boys’ cause of death has not been determined yet.
Brody Reinhart, 11, and Rex Reinhart, 14, were killed by their father on Tuesday in Florida. They’re pictured with their mother, Minde Pierce Reinhart
Paul Reinhart, 46, killed the two boys before setting his home on fire, according to police
Deputies from Alachua County visited the family home in Gainesville around 6am on Tuesday after a family member was worried about Paul’s Facebook posts
Deputies from Alachua County visited the family home in Gainesville around 6am on Tuesday after a family member was worried about Paul’s Facebook posts, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
‘While responding, deputies also learned Paul Reinhart sent several cryptic Facebook posts overnight and sent concerning texts to family,’ the police said.
Nobody was present at the home, which is when the deputies contacted Dixie County, which arrived at a vacation home already ablaze, with Reinhart’s van outside.
‘Upon extinguishing the fire, Dixie County deputies discovered three deceased individuals in the residence,’ a joint statement from the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said.
The situation is made more eerie because of similarities it holds to an incident involving Paul’s brother.
Pictured: Erick Von Reinhart, Paul’s brother, who is serving 40 years in jail for second-degree murder
Erick Von Reinhart, 49, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after stabbing his ex-wife’s boyfriend in Pasco County in 2014.
After stabbing Alex Iliff to death, Erick – who had been divorced for a week – tried to kill himself with the murder weapon, a kitchen knife, as his hidden ex-wife called 911.
The Gainesville Sun reports Erick was found on the bathroom floor, bleeding from self-inflicted stab wounds to his neck and stomach.
He pleaded for deputies to kill him, but he was instead hospitalized.
Erick’s legal defense in the fatal stabbing was paid for by his brother, Paul. Erick was ultimately sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Regine Iliff, Alex’s mother, noted the similarities between the two brothers’ incidents upon learning of what happened to Paul and his sons.
‘That sounds so much like Erick,’ Regine said.
The two boys 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 went to school at Chiles Elementary, while 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.
Pictured: Police investigate the scene following the deaths of the three people in Florida
The causes of death are still among the many things being investigated in the case
‘We came out here because our friend passed away and him and his brother. We’re just coming here to support him and paint this memorial for him,’ friend Heath Vincent told WCJB.
Reinhart was the former president of Reinhart Medical LLC, which sells medical devices, but had recently lost that job.
Friends reported that he was in the midst of a divorce from Minde Pierce Reinhart, 42, the vice president of his company.
‘It’s probably one of the most tragic events that any community can ever encounter,’ Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler said, according to WCJB.
‘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.’
For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255