Original article no longer available
The Palm Beach Post
July 16, 2000
Author: Colleen Mastony, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
It started as a blind date. A daylong boating trip with another couple who said that Robert Lorencz and Robin Valdez would be perfect together. They were both in their mid-30s, attractive and athletic. They were both divorced and ready to try again. And just as their friends said they would, Lorencz and Valdez hit it off.
July 8, about 10 months after Valdez and Lorencz met, a fisherman found Valdez’s black Mercedes sedan floating in a canal near Fort Pierce. When the car was pulled from the water, deputies opened the trunk to find Valdez, 37, with a single bullet hole in her forehead and a plastic bag wrapped around her head.
Hours later, Lorencz’s roommates at 2752 Mohawk Ave. discovered him lying on the floor of his bedroom, shot in the chest, with a silver, wooden-handled .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol at his side. It was two days before his 36th birthday.
Rob Lorencz was a nice guy, Valdez had told friends at work. After their first date, she told her sister that she was crazy about him. He played easily with her two sons, 2-year-old Brandon and 7-year-old Ryan.
When he was dining out with Valdez and the boys, Lorencz would fetch Brandon when he ran away from the table. Soon Lorencz was baby-sitting while Valdez waited tables at the Pomodoro Grill and Pizza in Vero Beach.
Valdez introduced him to her family and they liked him. “He seemed like a thoughtful guy,” said Valdez’s sister, Jean Garrison.
“He was wonderful with the children,” she said. “I guess that was one reason why she liked him so much.”
A month into the relationship, Lorencz was over at Valdez’s house at 5604 Deer Run Drive every night. Lorencz’s friends said they had met Valdez at parties, but mostly he would spend time at her house. “I think Robin just really wanted to be happily married,” said Garrison.
Lorencz wanted to be with her all the time. She would come home from picking up her kids or return after a shift at the restaurant and unexpectedly find him waiting for her outside her home.
But as months passed, Valdez began to see another side of Lorencz. “He wasn’t a real happy person,” said one of Valdez’s friends and neighbors, who asked that her name not be used. He had been on antidepressants since the breakup of his marriage about seven years ago, according to his friend, who added that “he ended up in trouble over that.”
Lorencz had been charged with domestic violence, trespassing and violating an injunction for protection against domestic violence and spent a year in jail in 1996, according to law enforcement records.
Around Christmastime, Valdez began to tell her sister that things had changed with her and Lorencz. He had begun calling her every day and “asking a whole lot of questions.” Where had she been? Who had she seen? She told friends at work that Lorencz was jealous. She told her father that she was scared.
Lorencz was starting to talk about marriage, having children of his own, and she was trying to back away.
Valdez broke off the relationship about a month ago, telling Lorencz that she wasn’t interested in being so serious.
A few days later, she came out of work and found one of her tires slashed, according to co-workers. The next week, someone put a long scratch down the side of her car. And the next week, Valdez found a window of her house smashed.
Friends said Valdez would still take Lorencz’s phone calls and chat with him. “She didn’t want to hurt anyone,” Garrison said.
Friends of Lorencz say he withdrew and became quiet after the breakup. He told co-workers at Crystal Pools in Vero Beach that if he ever saw Valdez with another man he would kill her, said St. Lucie County sheriff’s spokesman Mark Weinberg. Some people said Lorencz had started asking people whether he could borrow a gun, Garrison said.
A fisherman spotted Valdez’s Mercedes floating just below the surface of the water in the Gordy Road spillway at Ten Mile Creek, west of Florida’s Turnpike, at about 7:30 a.m. July 8, the day she planned to celebrate the third birthday of her son Brandon.
About the same time that morning, one of Lorencz’s co-workers was offering him a ride to work, trying to rouse Lorencz from bed. But Lorencz turned his co-worker away, saying he had been out partying the night before.
At about 10 a.m., Lorencz’s roommates heard a popping sound and later found his body and the gun, which deputies believe he used earlier that day to murder Valdez. Deputies still have not verified the owner of the gun, Weinberg said.
On Monday, crime lab technicians matched the gun with bullets taken from Lorencz’s and Valdez’s bodies.
St. Lucie County sheriff’s officials believe Rob Lorencz shot Robin Valdez to death before killing himself on July 8. They had dated for about nine months before Valdez broke things off last month, friends said.
Record Number: 0007160423