Double homicide vexes Keys investigators and residents, detectives looking into number of possibilities

Carlos Ortiz and Tara Rosado
Carlos Ortiz and Tara Rosado

Pat Kvadus stood in her front yard Monday morning as a driver of a small, white Nissan SUV drove down to the dead end of Cuba Road, turned around and stopped to look at the house where Tara Rosado and Carlos Ortiz were shot to death last Thursday night.

"They keep doing this. I don't know what they want," Kvadus said.

One likely reason so many people want to see the house is morbid curiosity. The Keys have their fair share of drug crime, boat thefts and break-ins, but murder is rare. And a double homicide is almost unheard of.

The last time a double homicide happened here was in 1992, when Missy and Michael MacIvor and their unborn child were killed in their Tavernaero home. Thomas Overton was arrested in 1997 and sentenced to death for the crime in 1999. He's still on death row.

"We haven't had anything like this happen in a long time," Kvadus said.

Rosado, 26, and Ortiz, 30, were found shot to death inside their house by their next-door neighbor, Travis Kvadus, Pat Kvadus' son, around 2 p.m. Friday. He went inside the home and discovered the bodies after Rosado's children, ages 3,4 and 8, told him their mother and Ortiz were dead. He took the children to his house and called the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Travis heard the bang of the fatal gunshots the night before, but since Friday was trash pick-up day, he thought they were the sounds of garbage cans being dragged out to the street.

"I played it off due to it being garbage night," he said in a Facebook posting.

He heard the shots about 10 p.m. This means that Rosado's children were with the bodies of their dead mother and her boyfriend for about 14 hours before Travis Kvadus noticed them and got them away from the house.

Pat Kvadus said Travis, 33, is still trying to process the macabre scene he encountered, as well as the weight of the responsibility that was thrust upon him when he knew he had to get the Rosado children to safety.

"He's having a tough time," Pat Kvadus said. "He's quite a great young man. We all have our burdens and our problems. When it comes down to something like this, you realize your burdens and problems are minute."

Rosado's relatives are caring for the children.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office detectives are going down a variety of avenues in trying to find who killed Rosado and Ortiz, said agency spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin. Ortiz has an extensive criminal record in Miami-Dade County on charges ranging from marijuana trafficking to armed robbery. His most recent arrest was on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge in March. Asked if detectives are investigating whether Ortiz's past could be related to the killings, Herrin said, "among other things."

"It's just one of many areas of focus right now," she said.

DCF involved in 2014

Tara Rosado and her now ex-husband Juan Rosado moved to Tavernier from Allentown, Pa. with their children almost two years ago, according to a family friend who did want to be identified. She grew up in Staten Island, N.Y. 

According to court records, 2014 was a tough year for the Rosados. Tara filed for divorce in late October. Some time that year, the family was referred to investigators with the Florida Department of Children and Families, agency spokeswoman Ana Valdes confirmed Monday.

Tara Rosado agreed to enroll in a "parenting plan" on Nov. 19, 2014. According to court records, Juan Rosado did not. Tara Rosado completed the parenting plan on April 24 of this year. The Rosados' divorce was finalized in May. Juan Rosado could not be reached for comment. 

Friends said Tara Rosado worked at Domino's in Key Largo and most recently at Jacobs Aquatic Center, also in Key Largo, as a lifeguard. 

Jacobs manager Corky Wagner said Tara Rosado worked at the pool complex for about five months, but hasn't been employed there for a few months. He remembers Rosado as friendly and a popular employee.

"She was very nice and pleasant," Wagner said. "She got along great with the other guards."

The friend said she began dating Ortiz about five months ago.

If the Oct. 15 killing was targeted, the friend theorizes it was by someone who knew Ortiz, because, to the friend’s knowledge, Tara didn’t really have any enemies. 

“Tara wasn’t really that type of person who would have someone come after her. She didn’t fight with people or get into arguments,” the friend said.