A Ukrainian adoptee who has been charged with the murder of his American parents was welcomed into the Christian family with open, loving arms, social posts reveal.
Dima Tower, 21, allegedly stabbed and killed his adoptive parents Robbie Tower, 49, and Jennifer Tower, 51, in their home in North Port, Florida on Friday.
The religious couple, who worked as real estate agents in the area, were found on their living room floor lying head-to-head surrounded by blood. The 21-year-old allegedly displayed disturbing, violent behavior before the killings.
They adopted Dima seven years ago from an orphanage in eastern Europe, where he was beaten and ‘bruised’. Since moving to the US, unearthed social media posts show how the Towers showered their son with love, attention, and support.
The trio played board games at home together, went on family trips across the US, held birthday party celebrations, played and watched sports together, and cooked with one another.
A GoFundMe has been set up for funeral costs for the husband and wife.
On Dima’s 16th birthday, the family showered him with gifts, including toys and basketballs while he wore a Michael Jordan jersey and a party hat on his head.
He smiled with his family in their balloon-filled home, as he cut into his large birthday cake – which was frosted to look like a basketball court.
Celebrating the milestone, his mother Jennifer wrote in a post: ‘Happy 16th Birthday to our son, Dima!!!! We love you more with every passing moment! We thank God for placing you in our lives at exactly the perfect time.
‘We have watched you grow up in so many ways these past two years, with many months spent apart. Today we feel so blessed to have you spend your birthday with us, your first birthday in the USA and your first birthday as our son.
‘We are so proud of you, Dima. We love you and are blessed to call you our son!! And, it’s also pretty cool that today also happens to be a national holiday- Labor Day.
‘And though I know that Labor Day is celebrated for a different reason, the word “labor” isn’t lost on me today.
‘I am grateful for the birth mother who was in labor 16 years ago today and brought you into this world. May God continue to bless our journey together, dear son.’
After Dima’s first week of school in January 2017, the family celebrated by eating out at a local restaurant – and Rob posted alongside a smiling selfie at the table: ‘Taking our son out for a successful first week of school!!!!’
Even during Florida’s storm season, the couple supported their Ukrainian son through the new, scary experience. In September 2017, dad Rob wrote: ‘Dima was cool as a cucumber during his first hurricane experience!
‘He said “everything is better with cheese balls” depicted in the picture. He had big smile on his face though when he found out how many I had.’
At home, the family posted that they would often play board games together: ‘Heated game of CLUE is in progress! Dima the determined, mom the note taker strategist, and pop the silent surveyor!!!!! Round 1 goes to the silent surveyor!!’
His mother Jennifer would also cut her husband and son’s hair at home.
Posting a sweet father and son photo of their new styles, Rob wrote in September 2017: ‘Dima and I scored haircuts from mom’s handy dandy cutting skills!!!
‘Icee [their dog] isn’t too intrigued! Thanks Mum!!!’
And in October 2017, the dad recorded a very intense game of poker that the trio played at their home: ‘Momma just went all in and Dima took the bait, wiped him out! I could hardly see over all my chips though!!’
Supporting his son, in April 2017 Rob Tower posted pictures from the sideline of his son’s basketball game – cheering him on: ‘Dima turning up the heat on the court!!!!’
In June 2018, the family took a trip around New England – which was Dima’s first time in the region.
Alongside a series of smiling pictures from the trip, the father said they spent the time fishing, seeing family, and kayaking.
They visited New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine – eating lobster, toasting marshmallows, touring Salem, and having cookouts in the ‘beautiful temperatures.’
The slaughtered father and mother would often take their son Dima on fun-filled family outings, including minigolfing and to games arcades.
In one post from April 2017, he shared images of the trio at a golf course with the caption: ‘Highly competitive round of minigolf transpiring here !!!!!!’
And the Christian couple would also make sure to keep alive Dima’s Ukrainian roots while he lived in the US.
When parents were bringing in dishes to a potluck at his school, Jennifer made Borscht – a traditional Ukrainian soup.
Rob wrote: ‘My beautiful wife made a wonderfully, delicious Borscht tonight for our introduction to Dima’s school meeting. Everyone brought a specialty dish from their country of origin.
‘There was only one small bowl left from a huge crockpot!!! Guess who gets that? (I did help in the prep!!)’
Police arrived the Tower’s Florida home on Friday evening after a neighbor reported someone banging on her door screaming for help. When the resident opened the door, the woman was gone but they found blood spatters on the ground.
After police rushed to the scene, they allegedly found Tower outside the home with blood on his clothes as he was closing the trunk of his car.
Police claim he ignored their orders to freeze before he hopped into the car and sped away, leading officers on a high-speed chase.
The daring escape almost came to a close when he hit spike strips on I-75, but cops claim he fled on foot and hid in a wooded area.
The suspect remained at large for almost eight hours before he was tracked down and taken into custody on Saturday morning.
Investigators found the couple, who both worked as real estate agents, seemingly positioned head-to-head on their blood-covered living room floor.
Police have not revealed a motive for the killings.
Investigators believe the attack took some time as the house was filled with several large pools of blood, which were found in the master bedroom, living room couches, the inside of the front door, and the kitchen.
Robbie Towers’ uncle, Warren Rines, told the New York Post said: ‘It just makes no sense, none of us understand the hate. They were the only two people in his life who ever tried to help him. They treated him like their own son.
‘These were two really good, caring people,’ he added, noting that the couple travelled to Ukraine several times on Christian missions.
Rines claimed that the alleged murders are not the first instance of Towers’ attacking his adoptive parents, alleging that his nephew called the police three years ago after the Ukrainian left him with a black eye.
The incident led Robbie to sent his son to relatives for a period of time, before insisting he return home because ‘they forgave him for everything.’
They decided to adopt their alleged killer seven years ago to save the then-14-year-old from a prison-like orphanage, Rines said.
‘He would have bruises on him in the orphanage,’ he continued. ‘When they went out to eat, he would have like six hot dogs. He wasn’t getting a lot to eat. These orphanages are like prison for kids.’
Despite his sad past, the couple believed they could help him by welcoming him into their family, but he allegedly struggled to fit in and often launched into fights at school.
‘When I first met him, he was interested in boxing,’ Rines said. ‘But he didn’t want to box. He wanted to hit. He wanted to hurt.’
He added that their Florida home was not ‘all bad’, as the slain parents never stopped showering him with love despite Towers acting out.
‘I think the boy just had a lot of hate in him already before he came here. And I guess you take it out on the ones closest to you,’ he said, adding that they would buy him ‘whatever he wanted or needed’, including the car he allegedly tried to make his getaway in.