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Ukrainian accused of savagely slaying his American adoptive parents: 'They were the only two people in his life who ever tried to help him'
Composite screenshot of WBBH-TV video (pictured: Dima Tower, murder suspect)

Ukrainian accused of savagely slaying his American adoptive parents: 'They were the only two people in his life who ever tried to help him'

A Florida man has been taken into custody on charges of murder after he allegedly slaughtered his adoptive parents and then went on the run.

Just before midnight on Friday, a woman in North Port, Florida, about 50 miles north of Fort Myers, heard a woman screaming and banging on her door. By the time she opened the door, the woman was gone. She then immediately called police, who noticed blood on the woman's doorstep and decided to search the neighborhood.

They didn't have to look far. Nearby, they spotted Dima Tower — a 21-year-old native of Ukraine who had been adopted by Christian missionaries from America seven years ago — soaked in blood and shutting the trunk of a black vehicle. Police ordered Tower to freeze, but he reportedly ignored them and instead hopped into the car and sped away.

Using spike strips, police managed to incapacitate Tower's vehicle along I-75, but the suspect then fled into the woods on foot. He remained hidden for more than eight hours before a Venice police officer located him.

While many officers were tasked with tracking down the suspect, others went into his home to investigate what he may have done. What they discovered was gruesome. When police entered Tower's home, they discovered Tower's adoptive parents, 49-year-old Robbie Tower and 51-year-old Jennifer Tower, lying head to head in the living room and surrounded by a pool of blood.

As police investigated the crime scene further, they also found blood in the master bedroom and kitchen and on the front door, suggesting that the savage attack on the Towers had gone on for some time.

Neighbors and family have expressed shock, not only that such a loving couple met such a brutal end, but because the young man they'd rescued from a dangerous orphanage in Ukraine is believed to be the culprit.

"He would have bruises on him in the orphanage," said Warren Rines, Robbie Tower's uncle. "When they went out to eat, he would have, like, six hot dogs. He wasn’t getting a lot to eat. These orphanages are like prison for kids."

The Towers, two real estate agents who went on multiple Christian mission trips to Ukraine, were unable to have children, and they welcomed Dima into their home as their own when he was 14. "[Jennifer] loved him so much and considered him like her own son," recalled neighbor Ann-Marie Lidinsky. "He wasn't adopted in her eyes."

Despite their love for him, Dima had difficulty adapting to his new life and his new home in America. At just 5'4" and 115 pounds, he was slight and often engaged in fights with his peers.

Rines, Dima's adoptive great-uncle and a martial arts enthusiast, claimed that Dima expressed interest in boxing — but not for sport. "He didn’t want to box," Rines explained. "He wanted to hit. He wanted to hurt."

In 2020, Dima was arrested for felony battery after he reportedly gave his adoptive father a black eye. Dima then went to live with his adoptive mother's side of the family for a while in the hopes that he would lose some of his aggressive nature.

But, according to Rines, the Towers soon had a change of heart and insisted that Dima come back and live with them once again. "They forgave him for everything. They bought him a car, whatever he wanted or needed," Rines said.

It does not appear that Dima received those material gifts in the same spirit of love. Reports indicate that the car that the Towers bought for Dima is the same car he allegedly tried to use as a getaway vehicle after he allegedly murdered them.

After he was arrested, Dima was booked into the Sarasota County jail without bond on two counts of murder without premeditation. He is scheduled to be arraigned on November 3.

"It just makes no sense; none of us understand the hate," Rines claimed. "They were the only two people in his life who ever tried to help him. They treated him like their own son."

"It wasn’t all bad," Rines continued. "But I think the boy just had a lot of hate in him already before he came here. And I guess you take it out on the ones closest to you."

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