A Playboy model whose badly burned body was found Sunday in a Miami dumpster expressed fear of her current boyfriend — even allegedly text messaging a former boyfriend, "he's trying to kill me," her stepfather told FoxNews.com.
Paula Sladewski's stepfather Richard Watkins, who lives in Michigan with Sladewski's mother, told FoxNews.com that he wasn't surprised when he found out that Sladewski's boyfriend, Kevin Klym, 34, was named a person of interest.
"They had a horrible relationship," said Watkins. "I have told them from the start that they shouldn’t be together."
Watkins said the couple, who had been together for two years, argued often. He said a month ago, Klym broke Sladewski's nose during an argument and was arrested.
Watkins, who has been talking on the phone to Sladewski's ex-boyfriend in California since she disappeared, told FoxNews.com that Sladewski, 26, would text message her ex-boyfriend that she was afraid of Klym.
"She would text him 'help me, I’m in trouble, he’s trying to kill me'," Watkins told FoxNews.com.
Watkins said he last saw Sladewski when she visited her family in Michigan just after Christmas. He said she seemed happy and like her usual self.
Paula Sladewski — who appeared in the video "Playboy: The Ultimate Playmate Search" — was so severely burned that officials had to use dental records to identify her.
"We were praying that it wasn't her,'' said Watkins, according to the Miami Herald. "It's been real hard. I didn't know this many tears could fall."
The L.A.-based model had been visiting Florida during a holiday with Klym, who reported her missing. The couple splits time between Michigan and Rancho Cucamonga, California, The Miami Herald reported.
Watkins told FoxNews.com that Sladewski had told him they were going to Las Vegas on vacation, so he was surprised to learn they had instead gone to Miami.
On New Year’s Eve Sladewski went to a Lady Gaga concert in Miami and spent the weekend visiting nightclubs and bars, SkyNews.com reported.
Klym told police that he and Sladewski got into an argument at a nightclub and he was kicked out of the club in the early hours of Sunday morning. That was the last time, Klym told police, that he saw Sladewski. After he was booted from the club, he said he took a taxi back to their Miami Beach hotel, the Miami Herald reported.
The model's charred remains were discovered on Sunday night after a passer-by alerted the authorities to a trash bin on fire in a Miami street.
"Her body was burned so bad that there wasn't even enough to send her home," said Watkins, according to MyFoxDetroit.com. "It's heartbreaking."
Klym has been cooperating with police, said Lt. Neal Cuevas, a North Miami police spokesman, according to the Miami Herald.
"[Klym's] considered a person of interest as would anyone who last saw her alive,'' said Cuevas, the paper reported.
Watkins' wife, Patsy, received the telephone call from a concerned Klym on Monday saying that her daughter was missing. Monday happened to be Patsy's birthday, which Watkins said was "a birthday that she will never forget." He said his wife "can’t cope with this."
He told FoxNews.com that he can't understand why Klym would leave her at the nightclub alone. "He left her alone in a bar full of predators and I blame him for doing that. How could he do that? How could he just leave her alone? I can’t wrap my mind around why he would do that."
Patsy Watkins asked Klym those very questions on the phone Monday, and Richard Watkins said Klym told her he didn't know why he left her.
Klym has denied any involvement in Sladewski's disappearance. His lawyer, Marc Beginin, said Klym is "devastated and traumatized. He has no involvement whatsoever," said Beginin, the paper reported.
Sladewski's older sister flew down to Miami to assist in the investigation. Watkins said she will fly back to Michigan with her sister's remains this week.
The North Miami Police Department asks anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
FoxNews.com's Ali Reed, Sky News, The Miami Herald and MyFoxDetroit.com contributed to this report.