Denise Hallowell, 57, was horrifically murdered in her Citrus County home on July 13, 2019, and the authorities were called to the scene of the crime by her adopted son, 17-year-old Carlos Hallowell. The teenager told police officers he was sleeping in his room and was woken up by the barking of the dogs, at which point he discovered his mother’s body and called 911.
However, authorities announced nine weeks later that their investigation pointed a different way and they arrested Carlos Hallowell, charging him with first-degree premeditated murder. The sheriff said, “We just cannot fathom for the life us how someone could murder their own mother in cold blood,” Fox13 reported.
According to the sheriff, the investigation led them to “digital evidence” that pointed the finger to Carlos Hallowell as the perpetrator. Fox13 wrote that the sheriff revealed, “Every digital device leaves traces behind of everything we do in our daily lives. We believe he took physical evidence from the scene and attempted to destroy it and hide it from us.”
Denise Hallowell’s Son Had Been Expelled From School & Struggling With Drugs
Denise Hallowell’s son Carlos was expelled from his school, Seven Rivers Christian School in Crystal River, during his senior year because of marijuana possession, the Citrus Gazette wrote. Hallowell had a happy childhood and did well in school, the court heard during his trial, but things changed when he reached 11 years old, the Citrus Country Chronicle reported.
He turned to alcohol and drugs, trying marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, acid, methamphetamine and prescription pills, the outlet reported. He was expelled from school in January 2019 but hid it from his mother until May 2019, when she found out.
At his sentencing, the judge said Denise Hallowell became stricter on her son to help him overcome his drug problems. However, he said the evidence showed that Carlos Hallowell’s desire was to “acquire his mother’s real estate, cars and other property.”
According to the Gazette, the digital evidence recovered was data recovered from electronic devices that Carlos took from their home and threw into a local pond. The Citrus Country Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered them and with the “High Tech Crimes Unit and the assistance of The United States Secret Service,” they managed to recover the data.
Carlos Was 1 of 2 Sons Adopted By Denise Hallowell & He Defended Her From Abuse Accusations From Her Other Son
Denise Hallowell decided to adopt children because of her own background as an adopted child, Fox13 reported. She adopted Carlos from Guatemala when he was four years old and her younger son was adopted from Honduras, the Citrus Gazette wrote. “There are conditions that some of these children have that they actually grow further away from you,” the single mother told Fox13 in a past interview. “Some of that is because of those experiences they had in the past that we don’t know anything about.”
She was accused of abuse by her younger son in 2016 when he was 12 years old and Carlos Hallowell, who was 14 then, spoke with authorities in her defense. At the time, Hallowell was a teacher but she lost her job and reputation. She repeatedly maintained her innocence and the case was eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence, according to Fox13.
Following the accusations, the younger son was removed from the home and Carlos, who was not related to his adoptive brother, continued his life with Denise Hallowell. At the time, Denise Hallowell told Fox13 that investigators spoke with Carlos and her younger son’s teachers. “He immediately refuted everything his younger brother had said. They talked to teachers. Teachers knew my youngest son through years of school here. They were also in agreement with me.”