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State releases report on Spirit family killings

Donald Spirit shot and killed daughter, 6 grandchildren, himself

GILCHRIST COUNTY, Fla. – Disturbing new details have been released in the case of a Gilchrist County grandfather, who shot and killed his daughter and six grandchildren before turning the gun on himself nearly six months ago.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released its investigative report on the mass murder-suicide in Gilchrist County.  Donald Spirit, 51, shot and killed his 28-year-old daughter Sarah Spirit, her six children, then himself at their home in September 2014.

The report details a motive for the murders in the small town of Bell.

It said some of Donald Spirit's last words to law enforcement were about Collene Stewart, the great aunt to three of the children killed.  

When a deputy responded to the Spirit home the day of the murders, Donald yelled out, “I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at the Stewarts. Collene Stewart has turned Sarah into a whore and drugs and I’m fed up with this whole family … the Stewart family … they’ve ruined my family, they’ve ruined my life and I’m just tired of ‘em all.”  He continued by saying, "and I have taken care of it today!”

Collene Stewart's nephew is Jaime Stewart, the father of three of the children: 5-year-old Destiny Stewart, 4-year-old Brandon Stewart and 3-month-old Alanna Stewart.  Jaime Stewart was incarcerated in the Levy County jail at the time of the murders.

A woman who had was neighbors with Sarah Spirit when she lived with her Stewart a few miles away said she knew the Department of Children and Families had investigated the Spirit Family. She said she believes more could have been done to prevent the tragedy.

"Jaime, in turn, had problems, because if they had taken care of business, maybe Sarah and the kids would still be here,” Janet Hand said.

After Stewart went to jail, Sarah Spirit moved in with her father. 

FDLE REPORT: Spirit family murders-suicide

Investigators interviewed Collene Stewart, who said she was at the Spirit home the day before the murders.  She said she overheard Donald Spirit tell his daughter Sarah that "her kids were not worth a s***, tell someone to come get them because I don't love them, I hate them."  A short time later, Donald was overheard apologizing to Sarah for making the comments.  He said he was really stressed out.

Investigators said Sarah Spirit was unemployed and providing her father with money from sexual acts that she was conducting with a Hispanic male only known as "Jose" from Trenton, which is a small town outside Bell.  

The report said Sarah only knew Jose for two days and was provided $25 and $70 on the two days leading up to the murders and she was supposed to give some of that money to her father.

The report also said Sarah was introduced to Jose by Collene Stewart and another woman named Ruby Cissell.

After Donald Spirit killed his daughter and grandchildren, he called 911 to tell deputies to respond and then he would kill himself.  Deputy David Aderholt responded and asked Spirit to come to the roadside and show his hands.  Spirit responded with, "I killed 'em all!" according to the report.

When Aderholt asked who, Spirit said, "the kids inside, I killed the kids inside.  They're in the trailer dead and Sarah's dead too!"

Aderholt asked where Sarah was and Spirit pointed to a tarp in the front yard and yelled, "she's under that right there, mother f*****." 

Spirit shot and killed himself moments later.  When deputies entered the home, they found the children dead.

"You never wish bad things on anybody. And for that to take place, I just can't even begin to imagine,” Hand said.

Autopsy results revealed that all the children except the baby were shot in the head. Sarah Spirit had been shot in the head and also suffered six stab wounds.  The report said she sustained blunt force trauma to the back of her head and appears she may have been pistol-whipped.

The children killed were identified as Kaleb Kuhlmann (11), Kylie Kuhlmann (9), Johnathan Kuhlmann (8), Destiny Stewart (5), Brandon Stewart (4) and Alanna Stewart (3 months).

News4Jax tried contacting family members and the Sheriff's Office for comments about these developments. No one was willing to speak on camera.


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