Thursday, June 7, 2007
Out for Justice: Juan Peruyero
Thirty years ago, he opposed Fidel Castro, and it may have cost him his life. Now his daughter, a police officer, is Out for Justice, and you might be able to help. Here's the Nightteam's Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- You may have seen Nelda Fonticiella on TV as a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Police Department, but you may not know about her father, who was once a very prominent member of Miami's Cuban community.
Nelda Fonticiella: "I didn't understand it until he was killed. At the funeral, when I saw thousands and thousands of people show up, I thought, ? My God, how did all these people know about my dad?' It hadn't even hit me at the age of 17 that my dad was someone that important in the Cuban American Community, that he was considered a leader."
A leader who spoke out over and over about overthrowing Cuban's communist dictator Fidel Castro.
Nelda Fonticiella: "He was very active in the Cuban American community and wanted to go back to Cuba."
But, Juan Peruyero never made it back to Cuba. Instead he was murdered in his front yard in January 1977."
Andy Arrostegui: "When Peruyero stepped out of his home, this gold-colored Cadillac stopped, and this Latin male passenger was observed shooting at Mr. Peruyero."
He was shot seven times in the back. Another person trying to overthrow Fidel Castro murdered.
Andy Arrostegui: "The 70s were times of very high emotion."
Cold case detective Andy Arrostegui has the old beat up suitcase that belonged to Juan Peruyero. It's a time capsule from that era.
Inside, black and white photos, plane tickets and an article about the bombings, assassination attempts and murders going on.
Andy Arrostegui: "There were a lot of individuals who were either killed, or they had an attempted assassination on them, based upon their speeches or ideas against Castro."
But there are no clues in Peruyero's suitcase to lead police to Peruyero's murderer.
Andy Arrostegui: "Nothing was ever found, at least not enough, to take anyone into custody, or to charge anyone with this case."
In fact, most of the killers of the anti-Castro advocates of that era were never caught. The possibly pro-Castro supporters are still free, and, 30 years later, detectives are still searching for them.
Andy Arrostegui: "This case is very important because this case has indirect ties, or maybe direct ties, to other assassinations and assassination attempts which occurred back within that time the 70's."
In Peruyero's case, detectives did find the gold Cadillac the murderers were riding in. They did recover fingerprints, but they have not found any matches yet. Now a cold case detective is hoping someone will finally reveal a secret.
Andy Arrostegui: "Possibly someone out there who, in the back of their mind, has some information that's been hounding them for years. Well, this is now the time to come forward and let us know what that information is."
The police officer and Nelda want her father's killer caught. But the daughter of Peruyero knows even that won't end her decades of heartache.
Nelda Fonticiella: "The birth of my son, my father was dying for a son. He would have loved a grandson, you know, he missed that. There are so many big things in my life, every big event in my life that my father had missed."
Patrick Fraser: "Thirty years have passed. If they were terrorists sent over to murder Castro's opponents, they may be back in Cuba or still living here quietly. Either way, if you know anything about the people who murdered Juan Peruyero, Miami cold case detectives would love to hear from you. They can keep your identity a secret, and, if you have an old case you would like to see us revisit, give us a call. There are a lot of people still out for justice.FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out for Justice