Prior to the murders, Zakrzewski and his wife were experiencing martial problems. Zakrzewski reportedly commented to a neighbor that he would rather kill his family than subject them to a divorce.
On the morning June 9, 1994, Zakrzewski’s seven-year-old son, Edward, called him at Eglin Air Force Base where he worked for the Air Force and informed him that Sylvia was talking about wanting a divorce. After that conversation, Zakrzewski bought a machete while on his lunch break.
After making the purchase, he returned to work and completed a full day. That night, Zakrzewski arrived home ahead of the rest of his family and hid the machete in the bathroom.
After his wife and children returned home, Zakrzewski attacked and disabled Sylvia, hitting her twice over the head with a crowbar. He dragged her from the living room to their bedroom, where he hit her again in the head with the crowbar. He then strangled her with a piece of rope.
Next, Zakrzewski called his son into the bathroom, supposedly to brush his teeth. Zakrzewski attacked Edward with the machete he had hidden behind the door.
Edward attempted to block some of the blows as evidenced by defensive wounds on his arms and wrists. Edward died of severe head, neck and back injuries.
Zakrzewski then called his daughter, Anna, into the bathroom where he attacked and killed her with the machete.
There is some disparity as to whether Zakrzewski killed Anna immediately as she entered the bathroom or he had her kneel over the bathtub, where her brother’s body was lying, and killed her execution-style.
There was evidence of defensive wounds on Anna’s arms and hands.
Zakrzewski then dragged his wife’s body from their bedroom to the bathroom, where he further assaulted her with the machete. Reports indicated that Sylvia died from both blunt and sharp-force injuries.
After the murders, Zakrzewski drove to Orlando, where he boarded a plane headed for Hawaii. In Hawaii, Zakrzewski changed his name and took up residence with a family who ran a religious commune. Zakrzewski turned himself in to Hawaiian officials after the family he had been staying with saw his picture televised on Unsolved Mysteries.