Two hours later, Detectives Rolando de la Osa and Miguel Dominguez of the Miami-Dade homicide squad began an interrogation of their murder suspect. At first, he was cooperative, even agreeing to talk without a lawyer present. But he claimed to be ignorant of almost everything: where he had been that night, whether he had been drinking, even where he'd woken up the day before.

He told detectives that he and Jaclyn had driven around Saturday night, possibly drinking. He had blacked out at some point and woken up in his car Sunday morning in Ken­dall. After spotting Jaclyn's body, he panicked, drove around aimlessly for a few hours, and then decided to go to the police.

The detectives knew Portieles was lying. They had already received a call from Isabelle Congote about the visit earlier that day. Portieles had also requested help from another friend, Gabriel Molina, who had also contacted police. When the detectives confronted the DJ, he answered, "Well, there's no hiding this now."

An honors student, Jaclyn Torrealba aspired to study law and become a judge.
Courtesy of the Torrealba Family
An honors student, Jaclyn Torrealba aspired to study law and become a judge. Courtesy of the Torrealba Family
Juan Carlos Portieles went from in-demand DJ to murder suspect.
Miami-Dade Corrections
Juan Carlos Portieles went from in-demand DJ to murder suspect. Miami-Dade Corrections

Then he told them everything he knew. On October 10, he and Jaclyn had agreed to meet in the parking lot of the Los Perros Restaurant on Bird Road at SW 133rd Avenue, where she left her car. From there, they went to Space. They arrived around 2 a.m. and soon began to argue. She slapped him in the face, he claimed, and he decided the night was over. They left at roughly 3 a.m.

In the car, he asked questions, but she wouldn't respond. "My intentions were honestly to drive her back to her car, but that silent treatment really pissed me the fuck off," Portieles told detectives.

When Portieles reached the parking lot, he didn't stop the car. She asked where they were going. In a rage, he turned and said, "Oh, now you want to talk to me, bitch!" He continued to drive in circles near Florida's Turnpike until he reached a grassy cul-de-sac at SW 107th Avenue and 140th Street, near a canal. There, he told detectives, he pulled the car over, and the fight began.

"Mr. Portieles explained that they began punching each other, over ten times, while they were in the front seat of the vehicle," the detectives' report states. "Mr. Portieles indicated the fight ended up in the back seat of the vehicle, where he was trying to defend himself and, at the same time, not hurt the victim. Mr. Portieles said he attempted to pull down the victim's pants to her knees so that she could not kick him any more... He stated he grabbed her by her hands. Mr. Portieles related, 'I punched her, bit her, pulled her hair. I tried everything. She hit me with everything. I grabbed her by the throat and choked her until she stopped moving.' "

Winded, Portieles sat back in the rear passenger seat and rested. After 30 minutes, he moved her to the front seat and then sat in the car for another hour or two. Once the sun began to rise, he called Isabelle Congote and drove away.

The DJ spent the rest of the morning and afternoon looking for a solution. He drove to Congote's apartment and then to the Southland Mall to talk to an uncle, Rey. Portieles asked whether he should burn the car with Jaclyn's body in it or throw her corpse into the Everglades. Rey advised him to turn himself in. Next he went to Gabriel Molina's apartment in Homestead, where for a third time he confessed to the murder. Then he drove around Miami for three hours, Jaclyn's body still next to him, trying to figure out what to do. At one point, he told detectives, he took off the black button-up shirt he was wearing and covered her with it because "she was looking 'disgustingly gruesome.' "

Portieles finished his confession at 4 a.m. October 12, seven hours after he'd begun. The detectives wanted him to take them to the crime scene, but he asked to nap until morning. They agreed, and for the first time in two days, Portieles slept, lying down on the interview room floor.

Soon after, four Miami-Dade detectives went to the house of Pablo Torrealba, six hours after they'd called him to say they had news about Jaclyn. He already knew what they were going to tell him but still found himself struggling to stay composed as they talked. After the detectives described the confession, Torrealba felt anger, pain, and sadness.

"It's surreal," he says. "This is not supposed to happen. You don't think something like that is ever going to touch you."

Vilma Castro was also waiting for news about Jaclyn. On Sunday, she had made a cold pasta-and-chicken dish, one of the youngster's favorites, for a dinner they were supposed to have. When she learned what had happened to her daughter, she took the food and threw it away. She hasn't been able to cook anything since that day almost three years ago.

The clubs that gave Portieles his fame — Space, Nocturnal, Allure, and others — are either gone or have left the all-ages game. In the immediate wake of the murder, clubs canceled their under-21 events and didn't book any for months. Companies such as Committee Entertainment had already been expanding into the all-ages market with outdoor concerts and events like Dayglow. The industry permanently shifted to them.

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