Torres says he doesn't know anything about Reyka's killing except for LaBeet's strange dream. But cops believe LaBeet's closest buddy knows more. Torres is in prison in Polk County for dealing drugs. When New Times visited him to ask if he thought his uncle also killed Chris Reyka, Torres answered coyly, "Anything is possible."


Sean Reyka is torn over learning the truth about his father's murder. The gangly 26-year-old looks like his dad, only taller. "What's happened has happened," he says. "Whether it was LaBeet or someone else. Whether the guy gets caught and suffers some gruesome, horrible death or not isn't going to bring my father back."

Chris Reyka was a kind, quiet man, Sean says. He rarely spoke about his job, as if staying silent about the horrors he saw helped keep them at bay in his home. It wasn't until Sean enlisted in the Marines that his father opened up about his own military service.

Illustration by Joseph Laney
Illustration by Joseph Laney

"We would write back and forth," Sean says. "Especially in the tough times, to give me words of encouragement. I have all of these letters. I saved them, especially after what happened."

Sean returned home from boot camp shortly before his dad's murder. "All he wanted to do was hear my stories and talk and hang out," Sean remembers. "But a couple of nights, I went out with friends. Obviously, if I had known what was going to happen, I would have spent all ten nights with him."

Sean flew back to his barracks in Pensacola. There, three months later, he awoke to his mother's 2 a.m. phone call. The brand-new Marine broke down when he heard the news. Hours later, he touched down at Palm Beach International Airport, where family members hurried him out a back door and away from TV cameras.

Then there was the funeral. The 21-gun salute. And the slow climb out of despair. Sean was sent to Iraq, returned home, married, and had a son he named Chris.

His life has come to echo his father's in other ways. He is now a Broward Sheriff's deputy, donning the same badge every morning that his father died in. Now, more than ever, Sean understands his father, despite the mystery over his death."There's no sense building up anger or resentment toward a person who is either dead or possibly will never be found," he says, sitting in the Broward public safety building on Sgt. Chris Reyka Place. "That's not the way my father would want any of us to live."

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6 comments
pattilynn7177
pattilynn7177

I have to disagree with Perkins.  First, Curcio has NO axe to grind.  He has always been meticulous.  If he says that it'sLaBeet, I believe him.  Curcio has never granndstanded over any of the cases that he has been involved in solving.  Sgt. Reyka would have approved of his methods, investigation, and conclusions.  This story was very well done, and I appreciate the thoroughness.

perkins1085
perkins1085

This is simply a case of BSO grasping at straws to bring closure to open murder case.  They can assume Lebeet is their suspect but they'll never know beyond a shadow of a doubt if he really is since dead men can't tell tales. 

perkins1085
perkins1085

@pattilynn7177  


This smells of Scott Israel & his quest to make a name for himself.  It sounds like Curico had LaBeet figured for this crime years ago--Why didn't BSO come forward with this years ago?


Its not a coincidence that the newly elected super sheriff solves a 7yr open murder case within his first year of office.  

pattilynn7177
pattilynn7177

@perkins1085 @pattilynn7177  


Mr. Perkins, I believe that John Curcio was working on it even when Al Lamberti was sheriff.  I don't believe that your premise, "making a name for himself," is true, I certainbly hope not.  No law enforcement officer that I've ever worked with, or known, would put politics above anything, when it comes to solving the murder of a fellow law enforcement officer.  John Curcio would not.

 
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