After getting fired from his nursing job, Grant Amato became obsessed with a Bulgarian webcam model named Silviya Ventsislavova — and his fixation led to a murderous rampage in 2019.
Grant Amato hit rock bottom after being fired from his nursing job. He struggled to find employment in the field and decided to try his hand at streaming on Twitch instead. His family supported his decision, and his brother and father lent him their credit cards so that he could purchase streaming equipment and advertise his channel.
Unfortunately, Amato’s channel was far from the success he had hoped it would be. He barely pulled in $150 monthly from his streams, which were less than frequent, yet he continued to rack up charges on his family’s credit cards. The charges weren’t for streaming, though. Amato had become obsessed with webcam models — one in particular: a Bulgarian cam model named Silviya Ventsislavova.
Wanting to impress the model, Amato paid her hundreds each night and made himself out to be far wealthier than he really was. Over time, he started to believe that their relationship was genuine, which only compelled him to spend more and more money on their chats. Eventually, he racked up more than $200,000 in charges.
Despite his family trying to help him get his spending under control and manage his addiction, Amato only fell further and further down the rabbit hole — one that proved deadly when Grant Amato killed his family and attempted to pin the killings on his brother.
Grant Amato’s Failed Nursing And Streaming Careers
Grant Amato was born on May 20, 1989, to Chad and Margaret Amato, a clinical pharmacist and senior operations manager overseeing medical coders. He had two brothers: Cody, with whom he grew up, and Jason, a half-brother who lived elsewhere. Cody and Grant attended Timber Creek High School in Florida, where the latter competed on the weightlifting team. Grant attended nursing school upon graduation, though he failed out of a nurse anesthetist school shortly after.
Still, he eventually found work in the medical field, as most of his family had done. Per a report from A&E, Amato took a nursing job with AdventHealth in Orlando while living at home with his parents and Cody.
However, he was suspended in June 2018 when it was discovered that he had improperly administered at least eight bottles of the sedative Propofol to patients.
On top of that, the hospital had suspicions that Amato was stealing drugs, and he was later arrested by the Orlando police for grand larceny. The hospital ultimately chose not to press charges, but Amato’s position was terminated.
After several failed attempts to find another job in the field, Amato eventually decided to try monetizing one of his hobbies by streaming on Twitch. Chad and Cody offered to help Grant get started, lending him credit cards so that he could purchase the necessary equipment and get his channel up and running.
Unfortunately, Amato’s streams were infrequent and short. He managed to gain a few followers, but certainly not enough to make a living — he was only earning around $150 a month from subscriptions.
Rather than going all-in on streaming, Amato became reclusive. He spent most of his days on the computer, browsing various forums and sites online. Eventually, he came across one of the thousands of cam girl sites available, where he became infatuated with one webcam model in particular: Silviya Ventsislavova.
An Expensive Infatuation With Silviya Ventsislavova
Unhappy with his current situation, Grant Amato told Silvie lies about his life. He showered her with money, paying for exclusive private chats and shows. He told her he was a professional video game streamer and led her to believe that he was exceedingly wealthy, even going as far as to send her sex toys and lingerie to model during her cam shows.
According to The Crime Wire, Silvie’s reactions to Amato’s gifts led him to believe that the two had formed a genuine connection, and his obsessive behavior worsened.
To keep up the ruse, Amato began stealing money from his father and his brother. Ultimately, he spent more than $200,000 on Silvie between buying her gifts and paying for private chats.
When Cody and Chad learned about Grant’s theft, they were expectedly angered. They confronted Grant, and he admitted to spending their money on Silvie’s cam shows. To help his brother, Cody paid for a 60-day, $15,000 pornography addiction program for Grant at a luxury rehab center.
Grant Amato only stayed in the program for a few days, though. He didn’t feel he had a genuine addiction and left the facility in January 2019. Still frustrated but willing to help, his father allowed Grant to move back in on three conditions: get a job, see a therapist, and cut off communication with Silviya Ventsislavova.
Why Grant Amato Murdered His Family
Despite being offered a second chance, Amato ignored his father’s warning. He was desperate to contact Silvie and managed to convince his mother to lend him her cell phone to do so. When his father found out, he followed through on his threat — and kicked Grant out of the house.
This sent Grant Amato into a violent rage. The next day, on January 24, 2019, Amato entered his parents’ home and shot his mother in the back of the head while she was working at her desk. He waited in the kitchen for his father to return home, then shot him behind his ear. The shot didn’t kill his father, though. He was lying on the floor, attempting to crawl away, when Grant stood over him and shot him again.
He unlocked his father’s phone using the dead man’s fingerprint, then lured Cody to the house. He waited hours for Cody to arrive, then immediately shot him in the face as he entered. Grant then planted the gun and holster on Cody’s body to try and trick police into believing that it had been Cody, not Grant, who had murdered their parents before taking his own life.
This was the story he told investigators when they found him at a nearby DoubleTree hotel. He maintained his innocence, saying through sniffles and tears that he did not kill his family and believed Cody was the killer.
However, a flash drive in Grant’s possession with hundreds of photos of Silviya Ventsislavova proved that he had been in his family’s home that day. The thumb drive had been connected to the family computer during the time in which Grant was at the home — and Cody’s iPhone was hooked up to Grant’s computer shortly after, though the trusting process was never finished, suggesting the user did not know the password.
In court, Grant Amato pleaded not guilty, but the jury did not agree with his self-assessment. Though the jury could not agree on the death penalty, he was imprisoned for life without parole.
To this day, he maintains his innocence and even wrote that certain memories “remind me of the family that was taken from me and the brother I loved more than anything in this world.”
After learning about Grant Amato and the downward spiral that led him to kill his family, read the story of Jeff Pelley, the 17-year-old who murdered his family and then went to prom right after. Or, read the story of Jeffrey Dampier, the man who shared his lottery winnings with his family only to be murdered by his sister-in-law.