New Port Richey teen finds man hanging, mother dead in murder-suicide

Woman found beaten to death

NEW PORT RICHEY - Bambi Crowl often walks with her one-year old daughter along Maplewood Avenue, pushing her along in a stroller. The New Port Richey resident has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, but after what happened Monday afternoon, that may be enough.

"I'm scared to death," Crowl said. "I want to move out of here as fast as I can. There's so many bad things that have been going on in this neighborhood and this is absolutely the worst and I'm scared," she said.

Police said a teenage girl came home to 6018 Maplewood Ave. and found a dead man hanging in the house.  After calling 9-1-1, police discovered the girl's mother beaten to death in an adjacent room. Investigators said it was likely a murder-suicide.

Crowl and her husband, Mike Bernbaum, said they had heard noise coming from the house on a regular basis.

"Screaming and yelling," Bernbaum said.  

"We always hear them, because they're extremely loud," Crowl added.

Police identified the murder victim as 37-year-old Tina Lane. The suspect's identity was withheld pending notification of next of kin.

James Steffens, New Port Richey Chief of Police, said the what made the case even more difficult for his officers was explaining to the teenager that her mother had been murdered.

"I've got a teenage daughter that goes to school and comes home and finds a dead man in her house," Steffens said. "And then we have to tell her that her mom is dead inside there. That is traumatic, and my heart goes out to this family."

A neighbor who lives on the same street spotted the eight police cars and crime tape surrounding the house.  Mark Hamell said he noticed the area had been declining, but this was the most extreme case so far.  

"It's very sad. It's very traumatic," Hamell said. "I never actually thought something like this would actually happen two houses down from me."

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