PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – The adopted son of a Pembroke Pines woman whose body was found in a marshland not far from her home last month has been indicted in her death.
Late Wednesday night a Grand Jury handed up the first degree murder indictment for 22-year old Gerard Belmonte, also know as Gerard Lopes, for the murder of 43-year old Natalie Belmonte.
According to investigators, 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 goes back in the house several times bringing out garbage bags 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 driver 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. on Sunday, July 17th, to when he woke to find Belmonte missing late in the morning.
But a neighbor reportedly refuted that claim. He told police that Belmonte came over to his home several times asking about a security camera, and whether or not it had picked up any clues as to what may have 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, clothing, 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.