(Orlando Sentinel) – The night before police found Adam Hilarie dead in his kitchen, the 27-year-old Central Florida father went bowling with a woman he met through the online dating site PlentyOfFish, Auburndale police said Monday.
They went back to his place, and she texted him later: I had a good time and would like to see you again.
She saw him the next night, when on Friday she brought three men to rob Hilarie of TVs, an Xbox and an iPhone, and one of them shot him in the head, Deputy Chief Andy Ray said at a news conference.
“In cases like this, it’s easy for us to put ourselves in the shoes of the family,” Ray said, as he detailed the arrest of four people in connection with the killing — including 18-year-old Hailey Bustos, who went on the date with him.
Andre Warner, 26, Gary Gray, 31, and Joshua Ellington, 26, were also arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery with a firearm and first-degree murder. Ray said he didn’t know how the robbery escalated.
“Hilarie was begging for his life, he was not putting up any kind of fight, and was telling them that he had a 5-year-old daughter,” according to arrest reports.
Social media photos show Hilarie suited up in boxing gloves and a robe. He posted multiple photos of his daughter on his Facebook page, calling her “Princess.” Friends and family set up a fundraiser to help pay for funeral expenses.
“Each and every one of you know he was fun to be around,” Hilarie’s brother said at a vigil held for him, which was videotaped and posted on Facebook. “No matter what we did, we always had a good time and he always had that smile. This isn’t easy.”
Investigators got a break in the case after a witness reported seeing Hilarie with a young woman Thursday night, and Winter Haven police picked up Bustos in a separate burglary over the weekend.
Police said she was paid $50 to arrange the Hilarie robbery. She was in the car during the heist and said she didn’t know the men would kill Hilarie, according to her arrest report.
After the robbery, the men began “celebrating what they had just done,” according to the report. They later got in a fight over payment and smashed the TVs and threw away the iPhone. They also stole alcohol, jewelry, and marijuana from Hilarie, the report says.
Ray warned prospective users to run internet searches on their dates before meeting up and also to retain a healthy amount of suspicion. He advised against bringing dates home after the first meet-up.
“You just have to remember, you have no idea who you are talking to,” he said. “They may present themselves as one thing and be someone totally different.”