Florida grandmother arrested in murder-for-hire plot while boarding one-way flight
Correspondent Madison Scarpino reports the latest on the case from Atlanta.
A Florida man faces murder, kidnapping and other charges after he allegedly beat up his parents, killed his girlfriend and kidnapped his 8-year-old daughter on Monday, according to authorities.
The Largo Police Department said officers responded to a call from the Clearwater Police Department at about 3:15 a.m. on Monday to assist with locating 34-year-old Renato Muhaj after reports he was involved in a felony battery case.
When officers arrived at the scene on Clearwater Largo Road North, they discovered Suela Saliaj was dead, and her 8-year-old daughter was missing.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by FOX 13 in Tampa, police found blood outside of Saliaj’s apartment, along with a knife and blood-covered brass knuckles.
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Renato Muhaj was arrested after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend using brass knuckles and a knife, then kidnapping his 8-year-old daughter. (Pinellas County Sheriffs Office)
Saliaj was found covered in blood with her throat cut, police said.
An Amber Alert was immediately issued for the 8-year-old girl, and both police departments, along with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) worked together to search for the child.
Muhaj was located several hours later in his vehicle near St. Paul’s Drive and taken into custody. The 8-year-old girl, who is his daughter, was also located and recovered without injury, police said.
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Largo Police Chief Mike Loux holds a press conference regarding the arrest of Renato Muhaj, who allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and kidnapped his 8-year-old daughter on Monday morning. (Largo Police Department / Facebook)
Police said the incident began at about 2:30 a.m. when Muhaj assaulted both of his parents and threatened them with a machete as they closed their eyes and held each other, fearing for their lives.
During the ordeal, Muhaj allegedly took his parents’ cellphones, so they could not call for help, though one person was able to escape and call police.
The station reported that the affidavit notes the child told police she saw Muhaj strike Saliaj multiple times in the bedroom with the knife and brass knuckles.
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The girl also told police, according to the affidavit, that she knew Saliaj was dead and asked Muhaj, “Why would you do that?”
She said his reply was that he “really wanted her to die.”
After killing Saliaj, the affidavit states, Muhaj removed the girl from the apartment, rushed her down the stairs and caused her to fall. The girl told police he dragged her across the concrete to get her into the car, and she suffered bruises and abrasions as a result.
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Muhaj was charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse, aggravated assault, tampering with a witness and four additional criminal charges.
He is currently being held at the Pinellas County Jail.
Greg Wehner is a breaking news reporter for Fox News Digital.
Story tips and can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter @GregWehner.