NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - People who live in a Moon Lake community are reacting to the beating of two of their neighbors. Meanwhile, a woman and her son have been arrested for their alleged role in the crime.
Bobby Jo Curtis and her 16-year-old son were found in a New Port Richey motel. Detectives said they are still looking for a third person, a woman, who is on the run.
The victims, who are not being identified, are a 44-year-old and a 69-year-old man.
"Shocked. I mean, those two are the sweetest people you can meet," said one of their neighbors, Tammy.
Detectives said Curtis met the younger victim through a dating website and, shortly after, he invited her and her son to move in with him.
According to deputies, the crime happened at around 6:00 p.m. Friday at a home along the 13100 block of Midvale Avenue in the Moon Lake area. Investigators said it all started when the older victim saw strangers loading items into his neighbors van. He went across the street and asked what they were doing and was suspicious of their response. Investigators said he tried to go inside the house to check on his neighbor and was hit on the head with a baseball bat. He staggered into the street and fell down.
Deputies said Curtis, her son, and a third woman then took off in the van with some of the younger victim's belongings.
Another neighbor saw what happened and called the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. According to investigators, when deputies arrived they found the younger victim tied up in a chair and unconscious. It's believed he was hit on the head with a blunt object. Detectives said he was hit several times with a baseball bat and had a gun pointed at him. According to neighbors, the man suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Tammy believes the older victim may just have saved his neighbor's life.
"If anybody in the neighborhood would've stepped in, it would've been him," she said. "I'm praying for both of them."
Curtis and her son face a number of charges, including Unlawful Imprisonment and Attempted Homicide. Detectives are still looking for the third suspect, a woman, and the younger victim's missing van. It's described as a white Ford with FL plate 366 TQH.
Both victims remain in an area hospital. The younger is in critical condition.