A young model from Georgia was buried near her home Tuesday, leaving family and friends wondering how her life came to such a violent end apparently at the hands of a man she had met in Florida who had moved there seeking a fresh start.
Amity Kozak, 29, was buried in the “Peace” section of the Gwinnett Memorial Park as friends prepared a seaside tribute in Florida for the Southern woman police believe was the victim of a murder-suicide, the Boston Herald reported.
Police said Monday that they believe Kozak was beaten to death with a hammer shortly before Helder "Sonny" Peixoto, the man she had been dating, jumped to his death from the 11th floor of a Weset Palm Beach, Fla., condominium.
Kozak's friends found her body on May 30 at Peixoto's home, lying under bloody sheets, according to the police report.
An autopsy found Kozak died from blunt-force trauma, most likely from being beaten with a claw hammer. Detectives found the hammer in the home and are investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide case.
Some time after Kozak's slaying earlier that day, police said, Peixoto, originally from Cambridge, Mass., talked a real estate broker into letting him see an empty condo. The broker said when Peixoto entered the 11th-floor condo, the 34-year-old calmly walked onto the terrace and jumped to the street.
“I had a customer that just went in, walked in and over to and jumped off the terrace,” the broker told a 911 dispatcher as he took the elevator down to check on Peixoto. Shortly after, the agent found Peixoto lying face down in the trees, WSBT-TV in Atlanta reported.
Peixoto, a former MBTA police officer in Cambridge, is suspected of killing Kozak when he became enraged after learning last week that she found a new male roommate to help pay rent.
“She got a male roommate. That threw him over the top,” DeShon Allen, a club promoter who knew Kozak’s suspected killer, told WSBT-TV. “He flipped out.”
Kozak’s mother, Pat, told the Boston Herald that her daughter was scheduled to fly to New York City the day she died in an attempt to escape Peixoto, whom she was breaking up with after a brief romance.
According to police, Kozak met Peixoto in April. He was a fixture on the Palm Beach party scene — bragging that he was an ex-police officer from Massachusetts and that he was worth millions. In reality, Peixoto had a violent past, West Palm Beach TV station WPBF reported.
Kozak had held various jobs in Palm Beach County, including work as a model and as a stripper at Rachel's, an adult entertainment club and restaurant in West Palm Beach, WPBF reported. She recently had been hired as a marketing representative for Flagler Title Co. in West Palm Beach.
Not a millionaire, Peixoto did have a record, pleading guilty to vehicular homicide after killing another driver while speeding on duty.
Peixoto had repeated run-ins with the law while he lived in Massachusetts, where rumors of his threatening and violent behavior were rampant, WPBF reported. Police told WPBF the case is still under investigation.