PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – Investigators now say that the mysterious disappearance of a Pembroke Pines woman over the weekend may be a homicide.
They say evidence found in a dumpster behind an animal hospital at 1954th and Sheridan Street, less than 2 miles from Natalie Belmonte’s home, indicates this is a possible homicide. Investigators won’t say what that evidence is, but witness, Gabriel Osorio told CBS4’s Natalia Zea it was a bloody find.
“They pulled out like this trash bag, white trash bags and it had like sheets with blood in it,” said Osorio.
Police have searched from the air, on the ground and in the water for Belmonte.
“We’ve been searching waterways and wetlands around the Belmonte home along with other law enforcement agencies,” said Pembroke Pines Police Captain Dan Rakofsky. “The search is continuing by land, air and water.”
Belmonte was last seen returning to her home, located at 19331 NW 5th Street, from a party around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, July 17th.
Neighbors and family friends are stunned by her sudden disappearance.
“It’s just very, very strange that nobody has heard from her for two days now,” said Belmonte’s neighbor Al Quintana. “It’s very, very strange and very strange (that the) police don’t have a lead right now as well.”
Quintana said the night before she disappeared, Belmonte and her 22-year-old son had gone to a party together.
“When they got home, he said he went to bed and the next thing he remembers is waking up taking out the dogs and finding out that she wasn’t there,” Quintana said.
Police said the son is cooperating with investigators. A person of interest has not been named at this point.
“We have spoken with him, he has been cooperative,” said Capt. Rakofsky. “He was also the last person to see her and we are interested in speaking to him some more. He is cooperating.”
CBS4 News has learned that Gerard was arrested and accused of stealing from his mother in 2008.
A police affidavit states that Gerard did “knowingly and intentionally remove approximately $20,000 in various jewelry items from the victim’s jewelry box.”
The affidavit also states that Belmonte “advised she wished to prosecute…”
CBS4 News also learned that Gerard turned himself in last month related to that case, and got out of jail three days before Belmonte disappeared.
Police said there were no signs of forced entry into her home and her cell phone, purse, personal belongings and vehicle were found at the home.
Friend Sandy Chaichang said, “It’s just…I’m trying to understand all this…It’s really sad right now, really, really, really sad, my heart is breaking,” Chaichang said. “I just don’t know what happened
Belmonte is 5’4”, 135 pounds, has straight long brown hair, brown eyes and was last seen wearing a strapless brown dress.
Police are asking anyone who saw Belmonte’s maroon Lexus sedan in the area of the Publix shopping center at 19400 Sheridan Street, between 5:16 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning to call the Pembroke Pines Police Department at (954) 431-2200, email to Tips@ppines.com, or call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.