Police say woman's death a homicide; son in custody
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 9:36 p.m.
The adopted son of a Gainesville woman killed her with blows to the head, then traded her car for crack cocaine, police said Tuesday.
Relatives found the body of Roxie E. Scott-Kotb, 63, on Jan. 13 in her Bivens Cove apartment at 3301 SW 13th St., according to the Gainesville Police Department. It appeared she had been dead for several days, police said.
Neighbors, friends and family said Scott-Kotb was a strong and caring woman who lived by a motto: Help others before you help yourself, and treat other people how you want to be treated.
They said Scott-Kotb especially applied this to her adopted son, Darryl Dwayne Scott, 40, who family said was living with her after a 12-year stint in prison for attempted murder.
"My kindness is going to kill me," Scott-Kotb once told neighbor Bethany McFarland.
Scott was arrested on a charge of murder and grand theft. Police spotted him Sunday in Orange County driving a car — a 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo — they say he stole from Gator City Motors, where he worked detailing vehicles. The officer in Central Florida ran a check on Scott and discovered he was wanted in Gainesville for murder, GPD officer Ben Tobias said.
Authorities believe that Scott previously stole Scott-Kotb's car, a 2007 Mercury Milan, and swapped it for crack cocaine. Police found that car on Jan. 14.
The last time anyone recalled seeing Scott-Kotb alive was on Jan. 5 when a neighbor saw her and her car, police said. The neighbor told police the car was gone on Jan. 6.
Tobias said Scott-Kotb may have been killed anywhere from Jan. 6 onward.
Ard Heshmat, general manager at Gator City Motors, said Scott didn't show up for work from Jan. 7-9, and walked in on Jan. 10 like nothing had happened. Heshmat said he was shocked by the revelation that Scott may be a murderer.
"You would never be able to tell he was a cold-blooded killer. He was the first one here in the morning and the last one to leave." Heshmat said.
An autopsy showed Scott-Kotb died from blunt-force trauma to the head, police said. Her car and her purse were missing.
Scott-Kotb and Scott recently had a falling out, according to another son, Karem Scott-Kotb, 26, and his mother had told Scott to move out.
Scott had been living in an apartment in the 5900 block of Northwest 23rd Terrace since then, police said.
Police learned that Scott had used Scott-Kotb's credit cards in several places, including North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Roxie Scott-Kotb was born in Winter Garden and she'll be buried there, according to Karem Scott-Kotb. She only had the two sons and lived on her own.
Roxie Scott-Kotb served in the U.S. military in Korea, and was heavily involved in veterans affairs. She also loved art, and has a studio in one of the bedrooms in her apartment.
Special circumstances in Korea brought Scott to her, Karem Scott-Kotb said.
"It was the spirit of the moment," he said. "Someone dumped him in her arms and she kept him, and she's supported him ever since."
Karem said Scott-Kotb had recently had some health issues, but she was getting better lately. He said he can't make sense of the tragedy.
"I have no idea what happened really or even what to think. A lot of stuff points at him, but it's hard to come up with a conclusion right now," Karem said. "It's a complete shock. I would never think that anyone would do something like this."
The first time neighbor Bethany McFarland met Scott-Kotb was when she was moving in. Scott-Kotb walked up and offered to help McFarland move into her apartment. They grew close, McFarland said. McFarland's kids called Scott-Kotb "Grandma Roxie."
"She was such an awesome woman," McFarland said. "She was involved with us and got very attached to the kids."
Scott-Kotb wanted to start a garden for the kids, and the neighbors shared meals and even went trick-or-treating together. McFarland said Scott-Kolb would always ask to say grace at meals and she read her Bible every day.
"She was easy to love," McFarland said.
Scott, however, was different from his mom, McFarland said.
"We knew he was trouble," McFarland said of Scott, who was released from prison in 2009. "We knew from the way he presented himself, the way he walked. He was pompous and arrogant. He thought he was better than you."
McFarland told Scott-Kotb to "please take into consideration his past," because neighbors would hear the two arguing and yelling at each other sometimes, and McFarland said she found drug paraphernalia in Scott-Kotb's car.
"I know," McFarland said Scott-Kotb told her, "but he's my son. I will raise him until I can do no more."
After Scott-Kotb asked her son to leave, McFarland said Scott-Kotb changed all passwords to her bank accounts and the locks on the house.
At the car dealership where Scott worked, manager Heshmat said Scott gave him false documents with a different name, and a background check came back clean.
He worked there for six months. On Jan. 14, he moved two vehicles blocking the entrance to the dealership and stole the Monte Carlo, Hesmat said. Police told Heshmat to report the car stolen because Scott was involved in something "very serious."
On Sunday, Scott was spotted driving the Monte Carlo in Orange County.
"A patrol officer noticed a car with a temporary tag that didn't look right. He started talking to Scott and ran the (vehicle identification number) and found out it was a stolen car with a possible homicide suspect," Tobias said.
Scott was arrested on murder and car theft charges there. Tobias said police hope to have Scott returned to Gainesville this week.
Karem Scott-Kotb said he's struggling with the emotional weight of losing his mother and the sudden expenses a funeral brings with it. He lives in South Florida and works as an EMT and a volunteer firefighter.
He was never that close with his brother, Karem said.
"We didn't talk like on a regular basis. I didn't know too much of anything about him. I always wanted him to better himself ... My mom took him in and supported him so he could get back on his feet and figure out what he wanted to do with his life," he said. "I don't resent him for that, but I wanted him to figure it out and get from underneath my mother — being that he was a grown man."