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Dad Found Shot Dead at Home Lying Next to Unharmed 4-Year-Old Daughter-Cops

Newsweek 3/28/2023 Anders Anglesey
A still image of Santa Rosa County Sheriff Robert Johnson. The father of a four-year-old was shot dead in Florida following a suspected custody dispute. © Police handout A still image of Santa Rosa County Sheriff Robert Johnson. The father of a four-year-old was shot dead in Florida following a suspected custody dispute.

A Florida father was found shot dead next to his four-year-old child following a suspected custody dispute, according to police.

Police in Santa Rosa County, northwestern Florida, were alerted to reports of a shooting at the Cayo Grande Apartments in Navarre at about 9:40 p.m. on March 19.

When officers arrived, they found Colby Vinson, 24, had been shot dead with his four-year-old child next to him. The child was uninjured.

The Gun Violence Archive, a database that collects information about shootings across the U.S., found 73 people have been fatally shot in Florida since March 1 this year.

An investigation by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office led them to Jason Curtis, 53, the ex-stepfather of the child's mother, who they deemed a suspect.

Police interviewed the child's mother, Rachel Moore, 25, and arrested her on suspicions of tampering with evidence and being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.


The Cullman County Sheriff's Office in Alabama arrested Curtis and searched his vehicle where they found a firearm and a handwritten note with details about Vinson, his home, and other details.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Robert Johnson said Moore and Curtis' phones are being searched and that other arrests and charges could be made.

During a police briefing, shared on the SRCSO Facebook page on Monday, Johnson said a suspected custody dispute is believed to be the motive behind the killing.

A visibly stern Johnson added: "I will say this about Mr. Curtis though, what a human piece of trash. I mean, to shoot somebody with their four-year-old child right there. I mean, I get up here ad nauseam and tell you about how I'm shocked about how people treat other people, this just goes beyond that. It's horrible."

According to an arrest report obtained by Fox10, Vinson had been granted split custody with Moore on March 13, and the incident happened while the father and daughter were spending time together for the first time after the custody battle.

Curtis is being held on no bond at the Santa Rosa County Jail and Moore is being held on a $200,000 bond.

According to legal firm Lisa Marie Vari and Associates P.C., a court can decide to award equal time-sharing to both parents or can make one parent the primary custodial parent and give the other parent visitation rights.

The firm said on its website: "Currently under Florida law, there are no presumptions in favor of either parent with regard to custody and time-sharing rights; both parents stand on equal footing, and a parenting plan is devised solely on the basis of what type of schedule works best for the children."

Newsweek has contacted the SRCSO for comment via email.

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