The San Diego mystery surrounding the Christmas Eve double murder of a young woman and her fiancé’s brother may start gaining some clarity this week with the autopsy of a third body discovered last Friday, as reported Sunday by The Inquisitr, which also reported on the original murders in December.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the body remains unidentified.
Until then, authorities and the victims’ families remain baffled as to who killed vivacious, 22-year-old Ilona Flint and her prospective brother-in-law Salvatore Belvedere, who was also 22. But that’s not the only puzzle in the case. Why did Gianni Belvedere, Flint’s fiancé and Salvatore Belvedere’s 24-year-old brother, go missing the night of the murders?
And was that his body found in the trunk of a car parked near a Jack In The Box burger joint in Riverside, California, almost 90 miles north of the San Diego mall parking lot crime scene?
The Belvedere family told NBC San Diego that the badly decomposed remains were, in fact, Gianni. But the cops and coroner in Riverside still say they just don’t know. The car matched the description of Gianni Belvedere’s own 2004 Toyota Camry with a Utah license plate, missing since the night if the San Diego killings.
Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Mike Vasquez told The San Diego Union-Tribune that an autopsy on the unidentified body should be performed on Wednesday, January 22 — but could be pushed back due to the Martin Luther King Holiday earlier in the week.
One more mystery, although certainly not the last: if the body belongs to Gianni, how did he die? The Riverside coroner has described the body as a “victim of homicide,” but San Diego police say even that is not known yet.
“We won’t know until the autopsy,” San Diego homicide cop Mike Hastings told the Union-Tribune.
One famous pathologist believes it might be suicide.
Cyril Wecht, 82, has been part of numerous high-profile murder cases dating back to the 1960s. He believes that even though the body was found in the trunk of a car, authorities should not rule out the possibility that the victim took his own life.
“He could have been killed but why would anyone then kill him and now bring the car there?” Wecht said in an interview with San Diego’s CBS 8 News. “What would be the purpose of that?”
He added that he has studied cases in which a suicide victim perished in the trunk of a car.
Another mystery about the shootings is simply, why?
The Belvederes had recently moved to San Diego from Provo, Utah, after selling their family Italian restaurant there, where both brothers worked. Flint, Gianni Belvedere’s longtime sweetheart whom the Belevderes consider a member of their own family then moved to San Diego herself and was working in a retail outlet.
So far police have not uncovered anything suspicious or odd in their backgrounds, at least nothing reported publicly, and the three appeared to have been well liked. Still, a former FBI profiler told ABC’s Good Morning America that the motive in a crime like the San Diego murders is almost always personal.
“With these types of shootings, it really goes back to some sort of revenge: you owe me money, you owe me drugs, etc.,” former FBI special agent Brad Garrett told the show, which aired on Channel 10 in San Diego. “Cell phones, emails, there’s something in their background that led to this And I’m going to guess that it is out there.”
The Belvedere family has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Gianni’s safe return, but Hastings said that reward could soon be changed. Instead, the money would be offered for information leading to the arrest of a suspect.
Even some family members who had remained in Utah have now congregated in San Diego waiting for the autopsy results on the body that may or may not be Gianni, and for any further information that could help unravel the San Diego murder mystery.