PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – The adopted son of a Pembroke Pines woman who is accused of her murder made an appearance in Broward court Monday morning.
Twenty two year old Gerard Belmonte, also known as Gerard Lopes, pleaded not guilty to killing 43-year old Natalie Belmonte during his arraignment hearing. No family members attended the hearing.
The judge set the next hearing for October 13th.
According to investigators, on July 17th around 5 a.m. a neighbor’s surveillance camera caught someone resembling Gerard Belmonte coming out of the house and backing Natalie Belmonte’s car up to the front. The person is then seen dragging a large object from the house to the car. According to Belmonte’s arrest affidavit, officers reviewing the tape said the object was consistent in size to that of an adult human being.
The person on the recording then went back in the house several times, each time he brought out garbage bags and put them into the trunk before driving off at 5:16 a.m., according to the report. A little more than eight minutes later the vehicle returned to the house and the man went inside.
According to the report, Belmonte told police he had not left the house from the time they got home from a party around 2:30 a.m. that morning to when he woke up very late in the morning and found Natalie Belmonte missing.
A neighbor, however, refuted that claim, according to police. The man reportedly told detectives that Gerard Belmonte came over to his home several times that morning asking about his security camera and whether or not it had picked up any clues as to happened to his mother.
Belmonte’s arrest affidavit state’s that when Natalie Belmonte’s sister visited the home she found blood smears in the bathroom. Police K9 dogs brought in from Miami-Dade and Miramar police to assist in the search ‘alerted’ to the trunk and bumper of Belmonte’s car as well as the front door of the residence.
Inside the residence, the report said police found blood and signs consistent with a “violent struggle.” According to the report, someone had tried to use cleaning products to get rid of the blood.
A search of the area uncovered bags consistent with those seen in the video in a dumpster behind an animal hospital at 195th Avenue and Sheridan Street. Inside the bags were bloody towels and clothing along with bedding and pillows similar to those in Belmonte’s home.
The report states that the clothes in the bag matched the clothing worn by the person in the video. A preliminary DNA test of the blood on the clothing confirmed that it was Belmonte’s, according to the report.
After three days of searching, police finally found Belmonte’s body in a marshy area just miles from her home; she died of blunt force trauma to her head.
CBS4 News has learned that Gerard Belmonte was arrested and accused of stealing from his mother in 2008.
A police affidavit states that he did “knowingly and intentionally remove approximately $20,000 in various jewelry items from the victim’s jewelry box.”
The affidavit also states that Natalie Belmonte “advised she wished to prosecute.”
CBS4 News also learned that Belmonte turned himself and was released from jail three days before Natalie Belmonte disappeared.