Berkley Curtis Jr.
Broward County Sheriff's Office

Florida Man Arrested For The Murder Of His Ex-Girlfriend Found In A Suitcase Almost 20 Years Ago

The ex-boyfriend of a Florida woman whose body was found in a suitcase floating in the Biscayne River Canal almost 20 years ago has been arrested in connection with her murder.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday that they had charged Berkley Curtis Jr., 46, with second-degree murder for the death of aspiring actress Rebeca Pena. The Miami Herald reports that the two shared a child. 

Pena, 26, was last seen alive leaving the set of a movie in her white Honda Civic around 2:15 a.m. on April 10, 2001, according to the Daily News. At the time, she worked as an extra on the Muhammed Ali biopic starring Will Smith.

Boaters located Pena’s body on April 16 inside of a suitcase along with a set of weights. Police also found a magazine addressed to the victim with a Silver Springs, Maryland address of a home she once shared with Curtis. 

At the time, she had complained about her ex-boyfriend “stalking” her. Pena went so far as to file an order of protection against him in Broward County. 


NBC Miami obtained a copy of the arrest warrant, which says authorities later discovered the same type of weights found in the suitcase at Curtis’s father’s home. However, Curtis was not arrested at the time because his girlfriend provided him with an alibi. She told police they both went to bed early the night of Pena’s disappearance. The girlfriend later recanted, admitting they were not together all night.

“Each survivor waits for the day that the killer of their loved one is brought to justice. For the Pena family, we believe that day has finally arrived,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. “I want to commend the Miami-Dade Police Department for their hard work and commitment toward bringing the accused killer of Rebeca Pena to justice.”

Rundle also credits the use of modern-day technology in solving the decades-old case, which was not available at the time of the murder.

Berkley Curtis Jr.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office
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Erin Boogie is a blogger for and producer/co-host of the weekly radio show In the Field Radio.

About ErinBoogie

Erin Boogie is a blogger for and producer/co-host of the weekly radio show In the Field Radio.

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