Arrest made in Miami-Dade cold case murder from nearly 20 years ago

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade police and the State Attorney’s office announced that a cold case murder has been solved.

45-year-old Berkley Calvin Curtis is facing a second-degree murder charge, arrested for the 2001 killing of his ex-girlfriend, 26-year-old Rebecca Peña.

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle confirmed the arrest Tuesday.

“It’s a very circumstantial case,” Rundle told Loal 10′s Liane Morejon. “The present-day technology helped give us pieces today that weren’t in existence 20 years ago.”

Peña went missing April 11th, 2001 after failing to come home from her job as an extra on the set of the movie “Ali”.

Five days later, three men on a boat found a suitcase floating in the Biscayne River Canal. Inside was Peña’s body.

“My team is meeting with the medical examiner I believe tomorrow morning to ascertain exactly how the medical examiner believes she was killed,” Rundle said.

Police said weights were found inside the suitcase, an apparent effort to make sure it would sink.

Documents show investigators were able to match the weights to ones found in Curtis’ home. They also took note of distances between certain locations, text messages he sent a woman saying he felt like he could “kill someone again” and an alibi witness who changed her story in 2014, telling police Curtis was actually gone for a few hours the day Peña went missing.

“Any nugget of information will help us in this case,” Rundle said.

She is urging anyone with information about the case to come forward.


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