true crime

Grant Amato fell in 'love' with a cam girl. It led to him killing his whole family.

In 2018, Grant Amato lost his job. 

It's a situation so many have been in. But unlike the vast majority, the job loss led the then 29-year-old into the grips of an addiction — one so insidious it drove him to cause the most heinous of crimes.

After finding himself unemployed, Grant discovered an adult website called Cam Girls. It was there he met a Bulgarian model named Silvie. The pair quickly struck up a 'relationship', in which he would pay Silvie for services including private chats, dances and videos.

It was all fairly par for the course as far as adult websites go. However, there was one little problem: Grant wasn't exactly flush with cash. He told his family members he was using their credit cards to set up a Twitch account, and even took out a loan on the family home, when he was instead using the money to pay for his developing obsession with the cam girl.

It's believed Grant racked up around $300,000-worth of debt — all in his family's name — and all of that cash went straight to Silvie, who had no idea. Grant had convinced her that he was a wealthy professional video game streamer, and would send her gifts on top of the streaming fees he was racking up.

He believed the pair had a genuine connection.

By early 2019, Grant's family had clued on to what was happening and realised that he needed help. They sent him to rehab to try to curb his sex and internet addictions, laying down one major ground rule upon his return home: Grant Amato had to cease all contact with Silvie, or he had to leave the family home.


They insisted on him turning his life around. There would be no more cam girls, they said, and he would need to get a job.

Days later, Grant's father discovered his son had continued communicating with the cam girl. It was the last straw, and he told his son to pack his things and leave — a decision that would end in the entire family's brutal murder. 

Watch: Was Cindy James Telling The Truth All Along. Story continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Who is Grant Amato?

Grant Amato was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and was, by all accounts, very close with his family. 

Grant lived with his mother, Margaret, father, Chad, and elder brother Cody and after graduating high school, he and Cody both went to nursing school. Both the brothers continued their studies in hopes of becoming nurse anesthetists, however, Grant failed out of the course.

Still, he found himself a job as a nurse at a healthcare facility, where he worked until June of 2018, when his job came under fire after several hospital staff discovered eight empty vials of sedative medication propofol in two rooms he'd been overseeing. According to a police report, doctors had ordered the drugs, and records indicated Amato had taken them from a storage machine.


When confronted, Amato said he "administered the drug to patients who were not being adequately relaxed", and the hospital believed he had also previously improperly administered propofol.

Grant was later arrested after it was alleged he had been stealing drugs from his workplace, and though no charges were laid, his fate had been sealed: he was fired, sending him into a tailspin.

Unable to find work, Grant became a recluse in the family home. He spent hours online, locked in his room, searching for something to fill the void. It was then that he discovered the adult streaming website that kicked off his deadly obsession.

At the time, his brother Cody allegedly confided to his girlfriend he was worried his brother "would kill everybody" — a terrifying foreshadowing of what was to come.

How did Grant Amato kill his family?

The morning after Grant Amato was kicked out of his family home, a one of Cody's colleagues called police informing them that Cody had not shown up to his nursing job that day.

"I am concerned that something has come of harm to my friend," the co-worker told police during the emergency call. "I know that my friend's brother struggles with depression and I believe suicidal as well, and he mentioned it to me and I'm very worried."

On January 25, 2019, police arrived at the Amato home to discover the bodies of Margaret, Chad and Cody, all of whom had been shot. Cody, 31, had been shot beneath the eye and was found in his nurse's scrubs just metres from his work lunchbox. Margaret, 61, had been shot while sitting at her desk, and Chad, 59, had sustained two bullet wounds to the head while in the kitchen.


Investigators immediately went on the hunt for Grant Amato to question him over the deaths of his parents and brother. When quizzed on the horrific scene, Amato simply replied, "No, I didn’t do any of this."

Later, an arrest affidavit noted that Amato's response to the murders of his family was that he felt he they had been "blaming him for months for ruining their lives, stealing and not following the rules of the home, so he might as well be blamed for this too".

What happened during Grant Amato's trial?

Regardless of his denials, Grant was arrested and put on trial for triple murder. In July 2019, prosecutors put forward to the jury that he had killed his three family members before arranging the scene to make it appear as if his brother Cody had committed a murder-suicide.

Pleading not guilty, Grant Amato's defence attorneys poked holes in the investigators' theory by claiming that there was no hard evidence connecting their client to the murders. "They're just grasping and grasping, because their timeline doesn’t add up," defence attorney Jeff Dowdy told the courtroom.

During the trial, Grant's surviving brother, Jason, addressed the jurors during sentencing and spoke of his late family members. "Though they are gone, I want everyone to know Chad, Margaret and Cody were amazing people that will live forever," he said.


In the end, the jury found Grant Amato guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, however they spared him the death sentence, instead putting forward life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Where is Grant Amato today?

Now 34 years old, Grant Amato sees out his days behind bars at the Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach, where he maintains his innocence. 

In fact, he has filed for several appeals and has written that every day he is reminded "of the family that was taken from me and the brother I loved more than anything in this world".

The tragic story around the Amato family has now undergone the Hollywood treatment, with a new true crime docuseries about the murders landing on Paramount+ streaming service on April 16. Ctrl+Alt+Desire is a three-part series set to take a deeper dive into Grant Amato's life, his obsession with cam girl Silvie, and how he now spends his time in federal prison.

"I chose this story because I wanted to make a project that explores the way technology and loneliness are reshaping society," director Colin Archdeacon told Variety

"As we all spend more time online and less time in the physical presence of other people, a new culture is being born that I'm not sure any of us quite understand yet. Ctrl+Alt+Desire is my attempt to bring these issues out into the open for audiences to examine them."

Feature Image: Seminole County Sheriff's Office.