PORT ST. LUCIE (CBS4) – Seventeen-year-old Tyler Hadley invited a few dozen friends to his Port St. Lucie home Saturday for a house party, but police said by the time they arrived; he had “mercilessly” beaten his parents to death with a hammer. The teen and his friends partied while the bodies were hidden in a bedroom, discovered after someone gave police an anonymous tip Sunday morning.
Police in the small St. Lucie county city say they don’t know why Blake and Mary Jo Hadley were killed, but when they arrived just before 5 a.m. Sunday in response to the tip, a “nervous” Tyler Hadley first told them his parents were out of town. As they investigated, they found the bodies in the master bedroom, covered with household items in what they believe was an attempt to hide the bodies. The house was littered with beer cups and there were clear signs a large party had taken place.
“We believe the homicide occurred outside the master bedroom,” sometime Saturday afternoon, said Tom Nichols, a spokesperson for Port St. Lucie police. Police believe the parents were killed after the teen sent party invitations out via Facebook, but hours before the party started.
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“We believe that mom was killed first, and then dad, and then Tyler put the bodies back inside the room where they were laid out on the floor,” Nichols said. “The hammer was between them, and he attempted to cover the bodies with household items.”
After the murder, police said, Tyler hosted between 40-60 people in a party that started between 9 and 10 p.m., and broke up in the early hours of Sunday morning. Guests apparently danced and drank beer as the bodies of Tyler’s parents lie in the master bedroom covered with sheets, towels and picture frames.
Police say Tyler advertised the party on Facebook. An acquaintance showed CBS 4 the posts Tyler sent. At 1:15 pm on Saturday, Tyler wrote, “Party at my crib tonight…maybe.”
At 8:15 Saturday night, Tyler posted again about a party.
Even Sunday morning at 4:40 am, Tyler wrote on his Facebook page that there’d be a party at his house.
“We’re still in the middle of talking with some of the party-goers,” police said, and they are asking anyone who attended to contact them. Nichols said there is some indication there were rumors among people at the party Hadley had killed his parents and the bodies were in the house.
Kimberly Thieben is a neighbor and friend of Tyler’s. She attended the party and said Tyler was acting normally.
“He seemed happy,” Thieben said ” Like he was having fun. He was a good host and everything.”
Thieben said it was “freaky” knowing that she was in a home with two dead bodies just feet away.
“I love Tyler to death,” she said. “He’s still a good friend of mine regardless of what happened. But it’s crazy. I can’t see how someone can do that and then throw a party.”
Thieben said Tyler told her his parents were on vacation.
Another party-goer, who declined to give his name, said Tyler did say something unusual Saturday night.
“He said don’t go on the back porch, don’t go in any of the rooms, really,” the young man said.
There was talk about where Tyler’s parents were and someone called in an anonymous tip to police early Sunday morning around 4:30 am.
Police came to the home to make a ‘welfare check’ based on the call, and Nichols said when when they investigated, going room to room, they found the bodies. Tyler was taken to police headquarters for questioning and police obtained a search warrant. While examining the bodies, they found the hammer.
Police said the parents met a very violent death.
“The blunt-force trauma to the head and the torso, with that 22-inch framing hammer, can inflict significant amount of injury,” said Captain Don Kryak, one of the investigators.
“The crime scene was a merciless killing,” said Kryak. “It was brutal, and then the Facebook invitation to the party, and to have your friends, 60 people come over, I think speaks for itself.”
Police are still trying to understand the reason for the murders. Captain Kryak said the deaths did not appear to be “rage killings.”
“I don’t want to speculate about the dynamics of the house and the relationship with his parents,”, he said, “however that’s certainly something we want to dive into a little more and get a better understanding of what takes place inside the house.”
In addition to his parents, an older brother had lived in the home with Tyler until recently, when he moved out.
Blake Hadley’s nephew, William Markankron, said the family cannot make sense of the violence that took the lives of their loved ones.
“Everybody’s devastated and we’re trying to figure out why? Why would this happen?” Markankron said. “We need some answers.”
Blake Hadley worked at Florida Power and Light for the last 30 years.
“Our thoughts and prayers with Hadley family,” said company spokesman Doug Andrews.
The Hadley’s next door neighbor Raeann Wallace said she’s known the family for 25 years. She said Tyler was a respectful child but that he ‘vanished’ for the last year or so.
“He wasn’t in his right mind; drugs or alcohol had to be involved,” said Wallace, “It isn’t what a normal person does, kill your parents and then have a party.”
Police said it appears Tyler is a high school dropout, who had later attended Indian River State College, which he had left under what police called “some questionable situation”. Police said he may have had plans to start at school this fall.
Hadley has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and is being held without bond.
An autopsy was held to help determine specifics about the killings to help police in their investigation.