CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The owner of a Coral Gables insurance adjusters business and another person were found dead Friday afternoon after police responded to a frantic call for help, and a former worker at the business was detained by police after his bloody footprints led them to a nearby Sedano’s market.
Police sources have told CBS4 that the person in custody has admitted to the killings and is expected to be booked into the Miami-Dade County jail.
Sources have confirmed that one of the victims is Frances C. Venezia, owner of Professional Public Adjusters, an insurance adjusters firm where the two bodies were found Friday. A law enforcement source has confirmed to CBS4 Investigative reporter Jim Defede that the second victim is Robert James, listed in state records as an officer of the business. He was 76.
Police have not confirmed the identity of either victim, or said how they died. The name of the alleged killer has not been confirmed, and CBSMiami has elected not to use the name until formal charges are official.
Coral Gables officers responded to the office building at 801 Monterrey at about noon Friday, after getting calls from people in the building who had heard screaming for help.
They found two scenes when they arrived; the bodies inside suite 205-B the offices of the adjusters firm, and at the end of a bloody trail from the building a man, dressed in bloody clothes, at a Sedano’s supermarket down the street.
Police took that man, identified by sources as a former employee of the business, into custody for questioning while the store was closed, the neighborhood sealed off, and people were told to stay indoors.
“We have been asked by authorities to temporarily close our store, and we are fully cooperating. The safety and welfare of our employees and customers are our top priority,” a Sedano’s spokesman said in a statement earlier in the day. Saturday, the company said the store had re-opened.
K-9 officers swept through the neighborhood, looking for possible remaining suspects. Traffic was snarled for hours while police searched.
Venezia opened the business in 1998 and operated it with a partner. She has two children and an ex-husband, Pietro Venezia, who was charged with the murder of a tax collector in North Miami in 1993 and who fled to Italy. He was tried there after Italy refused to extradite him, and sentenced to 23 years in prison. It’s not known if he is still in custody there.
Family members say they don’t know why Venezia might have been killed.