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