NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio -- Three Florida homicide victims have ties to northeast Ohio, and it's not only because the suspect in the case was arrested in Lakewood. The victims were related to a former North Royalton police chief.
James Zindroski told Fox 8's Allison Brown the situation hasn't really sunk in yet.
Zindroski lost his sister, Laura Ivancic, 59, brother-in-law, Richard Ivancic, 71, and nephew, Nicholas Ivancic, 25, after a violent crime in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Tarpon Springs police said the victims' bodies were found New Year's Day.
Zindroski explained that during his many years in law enforcement he had had to deliver heartbreaking news to families and never thought he would be in that position.
"I made so many of those death notifications myself, throughout my career, never thought I'd never thought I'd find myself in this situation, it's troubling," Zindroski said.
"It's difficult there's an awful lot of things to try and get your hands wrapped around, because of all of the tragedy that happened."
On Thursday, Shelby Svensen, 25, who also goes by Shelby Nealy, was arrested in Lakewood after being linked with a stolen vehicle from Florida. Police said the suspect later admitted to involvement in the murder of his in-laws.
Jamie Ivancic, 21, who is the suspect's wife, is also missing, police calling her an "endangered missing person".
"I think the realization that my sister, my brother-in-law and my nephew are gone probably hasn't really sunk in," Zindroski said.
When it comes to the suspect, Zindroski explained that it was generally known that he seemed "troubled."
"He had a lot of serious issues, we saw that, but we couldn't get him to open up and share with us what was going on. We offered to help but he let a very cloistered life, private in a lot of his past."
Still, there was no indication that a tragedy of this severity would happen.
The former police chief explained that he's grateful his niece Jamie's two and three-year-old children were not physically hurt. Police said they were found at the home on Newman Avenue in Lakewood when their father was arrested.
"We offered to take them temporarily so they have more of a home type environment."
Currently the kids are in custody with Cuyahoga County.
Zindroski said he is grateful for the support he has received from friends and neighbors during this difficult times, especially the prayers.
"Everyday is a gift from God," he said.