Logo: Feeding South Florida
Feeding South Florida South Florida’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization

Feeding South Florida is the largest, most efficient food bank serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. More than 98% of all donations are put back into the community. Through innovative direct-service programs and a network of nonprofit partner agencies, Feeding South Florida distributed nearly 119 million pounds (99.3 million meals) of food last fiscal year to over 706,000 individuals – 236,000 of whom are children and 100,000 are older adults.

Feeding South Florida works with volunteers to accomplish its mission. The organization wants potential volunteers to consider the following:

For more information on volunteer opportunities with Feeding South Florida, log on to https://www.feedingsouthflorida.org/volunteer/.

On December 8, 2020 an investigative report was signed by State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in the officer-involved shooting investigation involving Pierre Cher Frere.

Click below to view/print investigative report.

Pierre Cher Frere Investigative Report

Logo: Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office

State Attorney Fernandez Rundle Supports Beauty of Sight Event at Camillus House

Photo: KFR Optical Screening Event
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle (third from right) poses with staffers from Camillus House and Beauty of Sight Foundation during free optical screening events.

Miami, Fla. (December 18, 2020) – State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle recently attended the Beauty of Sight Foundation’s (BSF) free optical pre-screening event at Camillus House. The common area at Camillus House’s Project Phoenix transformed into a clinic as BSF’s volunteer optical technician used state-of-the-art scanning technology to offer free eye exams to several Camillus House residents.

Project Phoenix houses and supports human trafficking victims and was championed with support from the State Attorney and her Human Trafficking Unit.

To learn more about the Office of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s innovative trauma-informed law enforcement model, log on to humantrafficking.miamisao.com.

Logo: Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office

For Immediate Release: Suspect Charged in 2001 Homicide

Miami, Fla.  (December 15, 2020) – As a result of a joint investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, 45-year-old Berkley Calvin Curtis Jr. has been charged with 2nd degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Rebeca Pena. Ms. Pena’s body was discovered by boaters on April 16, 2001 inside of a floating suitcase in the Biscayne River Canal along with two 25- pound Weider weight lifting plates. The weight plates were apparently intended to help keep the body underwater. Also, inside the suitcase was a magazine addressed to the Pena family with a Silver Springs, Maryland address formerly the residence of Ms. Pena and her ex-boyfriend, Berkley Calvin Curtis Jr., the father of Ms. Pena’s child.

“An unsolved homicide gnaws at the heart every parent and every family member left behind,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Each survivor waits for the day that the killer of their loved one is brought to justice. For the Pena family, we believe that day has finally arrived. I want to commend the Miami-Dade Police Department for their hard work and commitment toward bringing the accused killer of Rebeca Pena to justice.”

Miami-Dade Police learned that the City of Miami Police Department (MPD) had been investigating a missing person’s case involving Ms. Pena, who had been missing since Wednesday, April 11, 2001. At the time, she had been working as a movie extra during the filming of the movie “Ali” and was last seen leaving the set in her white Honda Civic around 2:15 a.m. The vehicle had been found parked at her apartment in Miramar, Broward County, Florida.

Additionally, MPD detectives advised that the Ms. Pena had been stalked by the Berkley Calvin Curtis Jr. and she had an active Broward County restraining order against him. According to Ms. Pena’s father, Ms. Pena was afraid of Curtis and was concerned that he would harm her. Conversations with the victim’s sister, Francis Pena, informed investigators that Curtis had been physically abusive to her sister in the past, citing an incident in November of 1998, where Curtis” became violent, choking Rebeca Pena and requiring police intervention. Other confrontative incidents were mentioned, including one mentioned by McPherson Magloire, Rebeca Pena’s boyfriend.

MPD detectives advised the Miami-Dade police that they attempted to interview Berkley Calvin Curtis Jr. However, they were advised that Curtis had obtained an attorney and that attorney indicated that no law enforcement officers were permitted to speak with his client. At that point in 2001, there was not enough evidence to charge Curtis in connection with Rebeca Pena’s death.

“I am exceptionally proud of our current, former and retired homicide investigators who worked relentlessly on solving this nearly 20-year-old case, “said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez. “Bringing closure to the family of Rebeca Pena nearly 20 years later, is just one example that we never forget the victims that no longer have a voice. The Miami-Dade Police Department is humbled and honored to be a part of this process.”

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For further information, contact Ed Griffith, Public Information Officer, at (305) 547-0535 or EdGriffith@MiamiSAO.com.

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and our entire SAO team recognize December 15 as Bill of Rights Day, a national celebration of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights “guarantees civil rights and liberties such as freedom of speech, press, and religion and rules for due process of law, and reserves all powers not delegated to the Federal Government to the people or the states.”

To learn more visit https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/bill-of-rights

On December 8, 2020 an investigative report was signed by State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in the officer-involved shooting investigation involving Aimara Santana.

Click below to view/print investigative report.

Aimara Santana Investigative Report

Logo: Miami SAO 2

Click here for the PDF version of this release.

Miami, Fla. (December 12, 2020) – As a result of a joint investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, Dade Correctional Institution Sergeant Travis Thompson has been charged with one (1) count of Cocaine Trafficking, a first-degree felony. Bond has been set at $25,000 with a requirement of house arrest.

Pursuant to a narcotics investigation, Sergeant Travis Thompson, who has worked for the Florida Department of Corrections since 2015, made contact with an undercover MDPD officer. It is alleged that Thompson agreed to accept a cash payment of $3,000 and an amount of cocaine with the intention of bringing the cocaine into the Dade Correctional Institution premises. Upon taking possession of the cocaine and cash, Thompson was taken into custody.

“Bringing drugs into a prison is like lighting a match near an open container of gasoline, dangerous and foolish,” noted State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Drugged inmates can be totally unpredictable and potentially violent as they relate to other
inmates and to guards, placing everyone in danger. I commend the Miami-Dade Police Department and the investigators and prosecutors of our Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office for aggressively pursuing this investigation.”

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For further information, contact Ed Griffith, Public Information Officer, at (305) 547-0535 or EdGriffith@MiamiSAO.com.

Photo: Hanukkah

“For those of you celebrating Hanukkah which begins this evening, may the warmth and glow of each candle you light make your heart and home happy and your Hanukkah bright. Hanukkah is a celebration of the miracle of the oil that was only supposed to last for one night, but lasted for eight nights. It is such a great story about the resiliency of the Jewish people.May this festival of lights bring blessings upon you and all your loved ones for happiness and good health.Stay safe, healthy and strong. Happy Hanukkah!”

Logo: Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle Lobbies the State to Strengthen Protections for Child Victims of Human Trafficking

Photo: State HT Presentation
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle champions child victims of human trafficking

Miami, Fla. (December 9, 2020) – Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle recently lobbied state lawmakers and policymakers to expand protections for child victims of human trafficking. During a virtual presentation to the Joint Committee of two Statewide Councils on Human Trafficking in which Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez participated, State Attorney Fernandez Rundle delivered a compelling case to amend state laws to include additional protection of child victims and witnesses from discovery depositions in criminal and civil cases, except upon a showing of good cause.

“Child victims and witnesses are particularly vulnerable in deposition settings. Being made to face their alleged offenders and recall traumatic experiences can have a devastating impact on their physical and psychological development,” said State Attorney Fernandez Rundle.

“New neuroscience research has dramatically improved our understanding of brain development and the long-term effects of trauma and toxic stress. My office is advocating for changes that will allow us to prosecute predators and protect our children’s growth, development, and emotional well-being.”

Since creating Florida’s first Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit in 2012, the Office of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has filed over 685 human trafficking-related cases to date. The State Attorney launched one of the nation’s only buildings dedicated solely to human trafficking investigations and services. The undisclosed location houses law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, and social services personnel. The multi-disciplinary team collaborates on rescues, recoveries, and investigations.

For more information on the State Attorney’s human trafficking efforts, log on to www.miamisao.com/humantrafficking.