MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The 30-year-old man, charged with murdering his uncle, appeared before a bond court judge Tuesday.
Carlos Mario Zuluaga was arrested Monday night and booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
He is accused of murdering his uncle and killing his family pets– burying them in the backyard.
On Tuesday, Zuluaga appeared in front of Judge Mindy Glazer in a Ferguson gown–reserved for those who have expressed a desire to harm themselves. He was held on no bond.
Zuluaga stayed silent when the judge asked whether he could afford an attorney. He was appointed a public defender to represent him.
Zuluaga is charged with second degree murder after his uncle, 54-year-old Carlos Nino, mysteriously vanished while the rest of the family was out of town.
Nino was reported missing Sunday night when his relatives return to their home along Southwest 148th Street Road following a vacation.
When they couldn’t find him, Luis Nino, Carlos’ brother, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he and his brothers decided to take action and do a grid search.
He said they found his brother’s body inside a carpet with a towel and bandage around his head and he said the hands of his brother, Carlos Nino, were tied with an electrical cord.
“We are upset and overwhelmed by this,” Luis Nino told D’Oench.
The body was discovered near S.W. 126th Ave. and S.W. 143rd St., just blocks away from the home where Carlos Nino lived with Zuluaga and his two sisters at 12910 S.W. 148th St. One of those sisters is the mother of Zuluaga.
Authorities have not officially identified the man whose body was discovered. It was taken to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office for identification.
In addition to finding the human remains, investigators found the bodies of four family pets with trauma to their necks. In all, three dogs and a cat were killed, some buried in shallow graves in the backyard and covered with fresh sod.
A CBS4 crew was there as family members were told that their loved one was missing and as Zuluaga was taken into custody at the house before being taken away.
Luis Nino also said Zuluaga had mental health issues and drug problems. He also said that three months ago, he stopped taking his medication. He said some family members were afraid of Zuluaga.
“Now we are just overwhelmed by what happened,” said Nino in a telephone interview.
Neighbors told D’Oench that they were stunned by what happened.
“It’s pretty heavy stuff,” said neighbor Jack Webb. “I feel like wow. I don’t understand it. I don’t know what to say. I have never seen anything like this happen anywhere before.”
Another neighbor, Tom Thompson, said he had lived across from Carlos Nino’s home since 1992.
“Being so close to home, I just don’t know,” he said. “This is such a quiet neighborhood. It’s unbelievable. What I’ve heard is that a couple of animals were found in the back yard. And their heads were cut.”
“The whole case itself is troubling. It’s even hard to grasp that concept,” Zabaleta said. “It’s hard to absorb this type of nonsense, this type of violence.”