Coral Gables police spent the past month lining up forensic evidence with cellphone records, and linking it all to an eyewitness account, trying to nail down who killed a man on a bicycle during an early morning hit-and-run that left the body more than a third of a mile from the accident scene.
Friday, they said the work paid off, and announced the arrest of Juan Carlos Redero, 41, charging him with evidence tampering and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death.
“We have an eyewitness [who saw Redero] as he was pulling the bike under the car 2,100 feet,” said interim Police Chief Ed Hudak.
Police said the man who was killed on the morning of March 26 was Carlos Gilberto Suarez, 33. His body was discovered around 3 a.m., on the east side of Bird Road near Granada Boulevard.
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After Officer Gordon Dickson found Suarez’s body and a backpack that didn’t contain any identification, he surveyed the neighborhood and saw a bike and a shoe four blocks from the alleged crime scene. Gordon also determined that Redero had to remove the bike from under his car before driving away.
Suarez was not wearing any type of flourescent cycling clothing. Though his family was notified of his death, Officer Kelly Denham said cops had a tough time finding family members because they live in Mexico. Police still don’t know why Suarez was riding his bike so early in the morning.
“We’re not done yet,” with the investigation, Denham said.
Using paint chips from the vehicle and other evidence, Coral Gables police quickly determined the car that hit Suarez was a gray Nissan Altima. They then went through vehicle-registration records to determine who owned the vehicles that could have accounted for the death. Eventually, they found a car matching the description and with matching damage at a home at 8500 SW 46th St.
Miami-Dade County records show the home belongs to Redero. Police obtained a warrant to impound the vehicle and searched it for more clues, including DNA samples and fingerprints. Police also were able to look into Redero’s cellphone records, which would show where Redero was through a GPS system, and if any calls were made around the time of the incident. He was also picked out of a lineup by an eyewitness, police said.
Police believe Redero tried to hide his Altima, parking it at the rear of the home, and covering the smashed front windshield with a child’s kiddie pool and the vehicle tag with a trampoline.
Though it took almost a month to arrest Redero, Hudak said police had been keeping an eye on him and they didn’t consider him a flight risk. Police continued to interview him Friday morning, after his arrest. The interim chief said it was better that police took their time putting the case together, than making a quick arrest that might have fallen apart.
“We do not arrest a person and build a case,” Hudak said. “We build a case and make an arrest.”