The ex-boyfriend of a murdered Playboy model confirmed Friday to FoxNews.com that she had been sending him text messages during the time she was dating her current boyfriend, and that she had expressed fear that the man was “trying to kill" her.
The frantic messages have become an important part of the investigation into the grisly New Year’s weekend murder of Paula Sladewski, whose badly burned body was found Jan. 3 in a Dumpster in Miami.
Meanwhile, North Miami Police detectives are examining a second surveillance video that a lawyer for her boyfriend, Kevin Klym, says shows Sladewski leaving a Miami nightclub. The lawyer told FoxNews.com that the video shows Sladewski leaving the club with another man. But another video produced by the club, and posted on a Miami TV station’s website, shows her leaving alone.
The club's video shows Sladewski leaving at 7:20 a.m. Sunday. Her body was found at 9 p.m. later that day.
“She used to text me all the time in trouble asking for help,” ex-boyfriend David Coleman told FoxNews.com.
He said the last time he received a text message of that nature was on Dec. 27, 2009, just a few days before Sladewski’s charred corpse was discovered in a blaze in the trash bin.
Coleman could not provide FoxNews.com with copies of the text messages because he said North Miami Police detectives were using them as part of their investigation.
Coleman said the last time he heard from Sladewski, 26, was in a text message she sent him after midnight on New Year’s Eve. He said there was nothing alarming about her message and he said it didn’t make it seem like she was drunk.
Coleman, who lives 10 minutes from Sladewski and her current boyfriend Kevin Klym in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., said he and Sladewski dated in the late 1990s and had remained close friends. “We always had each other’s backs,” Coleman said.
FoxNews.com found Coleman's name, meanwhile, on California's sex offenders registry for an unknown offense.
Coleman said Sladewski texted him often asking for help when things got heated with Klym, including one time when he said Sladewski claimed Klym had locked her in the garage. Coleman said there seemed to be a lot of drama in the Klym-Sladewski relationship.
The latest incident involved Klym allegedly punching Sladewski and breaking her nose during an argument at a Michigan hotel while the couple was visiting her family. Sladewski was subpoenaed to testify Jan. 4 in the case.
An assault charge against Sladewski, alleging she cracked a bottle over Klym’s head, was dropped last month.
FoxNews.com also learned that Klym reportedly was arrested in 2008 during a drug bust in Warren, Mich., in which he was charged with cocaine possession.
North Miami Police spokesman Lt. Neal Cuevas said Klym, 34, was the last known person to see Sladewski alive and remains a person of interest in their investigation.
Klym told police that he and Sladewski got into a verbal altercation at a Miami club, and said that body guards escorted him out and would not let him back into the club, said Cuevas.
Klym said he tried to get Sladewski to leave the club because he thought she was too drunk, setting off a heated argument that ended with his getting kicked out of the club. He said Sladewski didn’t want to leave and stayed inside, according to Cuevas.
Cuevas told FoxNews.com that police were able to confirm Klym’s account of when and how he got back to his Miami hotel from the club. Klym told police that he took a taxi back to his hotel.
Sladewski’s stepfather, Richard Watkins, who lives in Michigan with Sladewski's mother, told FoxNews.com that he wasn't surprised to hear that Sladewski's boyfriend 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."
Police, meanwhile, are awaiting the medical examiner’s report and official cause of death. They also are in the process of interviewing all the employees at the nightclub where Sladewski was last seen.
They are also hoping to get accounts from any club goers who were there that night.
Police reviewed the surveillance video from the nightclub, but said the quality is too poor and grainy. Cuevas said they will continue working with the footage.
Cuevas has warned women going out to clubs in Miami to be on alert until a suspect is caught. He said if there is a predator on the loose, they could be vulnerable.
Watkins said he last saw his stepdaughter when she visited her family in Michigan just after Christmas. He said she seemed happy and like her usual self.
Police said 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, Calif., 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.
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."
Patsy Watkins called Coleman to tell him that Sladewski’s body had been found. Coleman had known that Sladewski was missing, but he said he figured that she and Klym and just gotten separated at the bar.
“I was screaming when I found out,” Coleman told FoxNews.com. “I thought no f—-ing way. I have been so pissed.”
Richard Watkins 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 Herald 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.