Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd holds a photo of Brandy Hutchins during a news conference Sunday. Judd said Hutchins killed her two children and herself after losing custody of her son, Aiden Hutchins, 10, to her ex-husband, Nick Hutchins. Polk County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page

A mother in Florida killed her 10-year-old son and her 19-year-old daughter and then shot herself after losing a custody dispute with her ex-husband, who lives in Maine.

The double murder and suicide took place in Lake Wales, Florida, but the boy’s father is from Maine and had traveled to Florida last week for a custody hearing. Authorities said the judge granted the father full custodial rights, but he never got the chance to take his son back home to Maine.

Brandy Hutchins, 43, killed her children after a court ordered her to turn over custody of her son, 10-year-old Aiden Hutchins, to her ex-husband, Nick Hutchins, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news conference Sunday. Brandy Hutchins then took a gun and fatally shot herself, Judd said. The sheriff did not identify Aiden’s 19-year-old sister who was killed in the incident.

Attempts to reach Nick Hutchins were unsuccessful Tuesday night, but Michael Oriend, who identified himself as a friend of Hutchins’, started a fundraiser on gofundme that had raised nearly $3,000 as of late Tuesday. Money raised through the “Justice for Aiden” campaign will go toward paying for funeral expenses, and for time Nick Hutchins had to take off from work, Oriend said.

On his Facebook page, Hutchins says he lives in Jay, Maine.

“Please remember my son and let’s together get the system fixed in his honor. We will fight and also remember my sweet, sweet boy,” Hutchins wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday evening. According to Oriend, Hutchins had been fighting for visitation rights since 2016.


Judd began Sunday’s news conference by saying he had news “that is absolutely devastating for everyone.”

Brandy Hutchins Courtesy of Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Judd said Nick Hutchins arrived in Florida on Thursday for a court hearing. During the hearing, the judge ordered Brandy Hutchins to turn over custody of Aiden by Friday at 6 p.m. When she failed to comply with the court order, Judd said detectives spent the weekend looking for Aiden Hutchins in an effort to find the boy so that he could return to Maine with his father.

Judd said detectives pinged cellphones while friends of the family used posts on social media in an effort to find someone who might know where Aiden was.

“There was absolutely zero evidence in the court order or testimony that there was any violence or threat of violence or any danger,” Judd said, noting that Brandy Hutchins did not have a criminal record.

On Sunday around 12:30 p.m., officers were called to a mobile home in Lake Wales. Police were told that Brandy Hutchins was inside the home with her children. Deputies determined that the mother had killed her son and daughter before taking her own life.

A spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff’s Department said the mobile home belonged to a friend of Brandy Hutchins. The name of Aiden’s sister will not be released because Florida law prevents the police department from revealing the names of crime victims.

“She murdered her children and then shot herself,” Judd said. “I can’t imagine a more horrific set of circumstances. My heart breaks for all of the family. We’re devastated for this beautiful 10-year-old child, all because mom did not want to turn the child over to his rightful father pursuant to a court order.”

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