Reynaldo Munoz: Shot Dead on a Stolen WaveRunner

Reynaldo Munoz: Shot Dead on a Stolen WaveRunner

"They are stealing my, my boat in the back," Yasmin Davis stuttered into the phone. Seconds earlier, the pretty Peruvian architect had been eating lunch in her $2 million Miami Shores mansion. As she tucked a slice of sushi into her mouth, she glanced out the huge glass windows and spotted a young man wrestling the family's WaveRunner into the bay. Davis had been robbed before. This time she was ready. She ripped the phone from the wall, dialed 911, and burst outside — but not before ordering her 14-year-old son Jack to grab the family's shotgun.

As Davis angrily marched toward the water, Reynaldo Muñoz wrenched the 800-pound machine from its mooring. The 20-year-old stood only five-foot-six but was strong enough to topple the watercraft into the bay, where his girlfriend waited on their own WaveRunner.

"I have a gun!" Davis screamed as she approached Muñoz.

"Tell me exactly what's going on," the female 911 dispatcher pleaded with Davis, who was still clutching the cordless phone. But it was too late. Jack had already found the shotgun fastened beneath his mother's bed. Now he came running outside.

"Let it go!" Davis yelled at Muñoz as he sat on the bobbing watercraft, trying to jump-start the engine. "Let it go, or I'm going to shoot you! Let it go! Let it go!"

Just then, Jack arrived with the gun. "Muévete, muévete," Davis told her son, urging him toward a grassy patch of lawn overlooking the water. "You see him?" she said. "Shoot!"

Jack raised the shotgun to his face. Sunlight glinted off its metal muzzle. The sea hissed softly. Then the child prodigy with red ringlets squeezed the trigger, and the lazy Saturday afternoon shattered like glass.

Muñoz fell face down into the bay, blood billowing from his head into the murky water. Jack staggered sickly back toward the house, the shotgun still in his hand. "Oh my God," Davis said upon seeing what her son had done, her words captured on the 911 recording.

It's been two years since the single blast rang out across Biscayne Bay, but memories of the bizarre incident still circle as if caught in the sea's inscrutable eddies. The May 21, 2011 shooting was by no means the most mysterious in Miami's long ledger of botched burglaries. Nor was it the first time one kid had killed another. But a combination of lies, incompetence, and insane legislation have ensured that the slaying remains one of the city's most controversial.

Despite the buckshot embedded in the back of Muñoz's head, it was the Davises who emerged as victims. Yasmin Davis, her lawyer husband, and their high-powered attorney all claimed the family had been protecting itself against a potentially deadly home invasion. They cited Stand Your Ground, the Florida self-defense statute that would become infamous nine months later when George Zimmerman gunned down Trayvon Martin.

The evidence, however, suggested a much darker motive: that Reynaldo Muñoz was killed to prevent him from stealing the WaveRunner and that the Davises lied to cover up their own crime.

But bad laws and bad law enforcement conspired against the case. First, a Miami-Dade detective with a terrible track record botched her investigation. Then prosecutors, handcuffed by Stand Your Ground and harangued by the wealthy family's lawyers, decided not to charge Yasmin Davis or her son with a crime.

Reynaldo Muñoz Sr. admits his son made a serious mistake by committing the theft. But was the young man's life really worth a $2,000 WaveRunner?

"My son died over some rich kid's toy," he says. "They say this is a country of laws, but what good are they when some people can buy the law and others can't?"

The two young men would have never met if not for the bullet that brought them together. They came from opposite worlds: one wealthy and well-connected, the other working-class and cursed by misfortune. But when those two sides of Miami finally intersected that Saturday afternoon, they ignited.

Reynaldo Muñoz was born July 23, 1990, in the sweltering Havana barrio of Luyanó. It was a time of crisis in Cuba: The Berlin Wall had fallen eight months earlier, and the Soviet Union was slowly disintegrating. Food and gasoline suddenly became scarce. Zoo animals began disappearing, as did stray cats and dogs.

The only reason Reynaldo's family survived the Special Period was its car: a beat-up '57 Ford, but a precious commodity in a city so poor. Reynaldo Sr. drove the aging automobile around Havana's crumbling streets as a chauffeur, while his wife, Idalmis, nursed their infant.

The three of them lived with her parents in an apartment next to Reynaldo Sr.'s carpentry workshop. Despite his father's hammering and sawing, however, Reynaldo Jr. seemed to sleep soundly. At first, the young parents thought it was a blessing to have a child so sweet. But after six months, they began to worry.


Finally, the couple took the baby to the hospital. Doctors found that Reynaldo was ­completely deaf. The diagnosis was daunting. It was hard enough to raise a child in Havana, a city where hunger was as inescapable as the humidity, so what hope did a disabled boy have?

For once, however, Communism's failings came in handy. Jobs were so scarce that many mothers of children with disabilities had no choice but to become tutors. Reynaldo attended a small school devoted to children like him, where mothers with hearing-impaired sons of their own taught him sign language as well as how to write and read in Spanish.

He was clever too. From the time he was 3 years old, Reynaldo would crawl under the family car and watch his dad tinker with its jury-rigged parts. Soon he was helping with repairs, his small hands covered in grease just like his father's.

By 2000, hunger in Havana had eased. But the Muñozes were as desperate as ever to leave. Idalmis had just given birth to a daughter, and as soon as she was strong enough, the family planned to escape the island.

The Muñozes drove two hours in the middle of the night to the beach town of Varadero, where the four of them climbed into a tiny boat with ten others and pushed out to sea. The powerful Caribbean currents turned the journey to freedom into a night from hell. For 12 hours, the lancha was battered by the ocean. One wave slammed Idalmis against the metal hull so hard it cracked a vertebra. Her husband also broke four ribs during the voyage, leaving 10-year-old Reynaldo to hold his infant sister.

When the boat finally plunged into the sand near Marathon the next morning, Idalmis could hardly move. A local fisherman rushed her to the hospital, while cops detained her husband and two children. It would be several days before the family was reunited at the Krome Detention Center, and then released at a Cuban welcome center on Calle Ocho.

Life in Florida wouldn't be easy for Reynaldo Jr. Instead of the small, specialized classes in Cuba, he now found himself one of 35 students per teacher at Palm Springs Middle School in Hialeah. He couldn't read or write English. Even worse, American Sign Language was nothing like the version he'd learned in Havana. He had to start over.

Struggling to make friends and keep up in class, Reynaldo often retreated into a silent world of spare parts. He would find broken gas barbecue grills on the side of the road, fix them, and sell them — only to buy more junk for his truck or the Wave­Runner his parents had bought him.

"From the day he was born, he was surrounded by men working on cars," his father remembers. "He could fix a car with parts that weren't even from that car. He loved to invent things like that. And they always worked."

Reynaldo Jr. was handsome and charismatic. And his uncanny ability to fix anything endeared him to others. "He would tell you when something was wrong with your car," Idalmis says. "He couldn't hear it, but he could tell just from the vibrations."

Reynaldo still had difficulty reading and writing in English, but his mechanical skills enabled him to graduate with honors from Miami Lakes Educational Center. It was the proudest moment of his life, and he happily posed for photographs in his cap and gown.

After graduation, however, the teenager found it nearly impossible to find a job. He resorted to helping his dad repair signs around town. Idalmis kept him on a close leash. "He was very dependent on us," she says. "He was never gone more than three or four hours from the house before we would call and check in on him."

"We made him dependent on us," Reynaldo Sr. says.

"I felt the need to protect him," Idalmis admits.

In the months before his death, however, Reynaldo had begun to strike out more on his own. While riding his jet ski on the weekends, he had made friends — young men with nicknames like "Mohawk" and "El Negro." He even had his first girlfriend.

"Everything seemed like it was going fine," Idalmis recalls. "But in my heart, I knew something wasn't right."

Blood dripping down his face and blossoming on his white T-shirt, Jack Davis stumbled into the kitchen. The blast had slammed the shotgun butt against his mouth and sliced open his lip. But that wasn't why he was crying. The 14-year-old, in shock, slumped against the refrigerator. Soledad Goycochea, the family's housemaid, took the gun out of his hands and held him in her arms. "Oh my God," Jack kept mumbling to himself. "I killed a person."


If Jack was just coming to grips with what had happened, his mother's mind was racing ahead to visions of her son on trial. While the first cop on the scene was busy fishing Reynaldo Muñoz's body out of the water, Yasmin Davis was already working on damage control.

"I shot him," she told her son, commandingly. "I shot him."

It was the first in a series of lies that the Davises would tell police that day, lies told to protect the family's precocious son and paint the slain intruder as a dangerous criminal. And it worked. Whether they were overwhelmed by the Davises' wealth, intimidated by the family's phalanx of lawyers, or simply incompetent, Miami-Dade Police would ignore key evidence and mishandle crucial information.

Yasmin Davis had more reasons than the average mother to shelter her son from investigation. He was no ordinary kid. In fact, Jack Davis' life was the inverse of the one he would end that Saturday. He was given everything that Reynaldo Muñoz Jr. was not: money, education, and — ultimately — a second chance.

Jack Davis was born in 1997. His father, Jeffrey, was a successful civil attorney, and his mother was an architect. Unlike Muñoz, Davis grew up fluent in English and Spanish. And while Muñoz was struggling to learn sign language in public school, Davis was excelling at Ransom Everglades, a prestigious private academy in Coconut Grove.

But even at a school full of future Ivy Leaguers, Davis was an overachiever. During a family vacation to Tennessee in 2007, the 10-year-old had spotted hotel employees throwing out leftover food. When he asked why they didn't donate it to a homeless shelter, they told him they couldn't risk getting sued.

Back home in Florida, Davis began writing letters to state legislators begging them to change the law. Before long, two Broward Democrats had introduced the "Jack Davis Florida Restaurant Lending a Helping Hand Act." The bill sailed through the Republican legislature and was signed into law by seersucker-clad Gov. Charlie Crist.

Davis wasn't shy about his accomplishment. The sixth-grader glad-handed with politicians and flew cross-country to appear on Good Morning America and The Early Show.

"When I got to school, people were chanting my name because they saw me on the cover of the Miami Herald," Davis boasted on ABC. "If you think there's a problem in the world, you don't have to wait for other people to fix it. You have to try to fix it yourself."

But his next media appearance would be far less laudatory. The moment Davis pulled the trigger of his father's 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun, his charmed life fell to pieces.

Perhaps it was that bright future that his mother was trying to protect when she lied to the 911 dispatcher that she had shot the intruder. But her story didn't stop there. "I shot him because he had a gun," she claimed to the dispatcher. "I just shot towards him. I was trying to scare him. I said to my son, 'Get the gun,' and I was going to scare him. And the guy turns and says, 'I have a gun.' So then I shot."

Within minutes of the shooting, Miami Shores Police cordoned off the house and split up Jack, his mother, his younger sister Abigail, and the maid (but not before Goycochea exchanged Jack's bloody T-shirt for a clean one). Jack repeated the lie his mother had fed him: She had shot the thief, but the gun had kicked back and hit him in the mouth.

Jeffrey Davis had been working at his law office when Abigail called to tell him about the robbery. He arrived minutes later to find his house blocked by Miami Shores cops. But everything changed when Miami-Dade Police Det. Dalyn Nye-Gonzalez took control of the crime scene.

Nye, a 13-year veteran of the department, didn't just let Jeffrey see and speak to his family. She let him and his son leave the crime scene for more than an hour to get Jack stitched up. During the trip, Jack admitted to his father that he had shot Muñoz but that his mother had taken the blame, according to a deposition given by Jeffrey.

When Jeffrey returned to the house, Nye again allowed him to speak to his wife even though the detective had yet to take an official statement from anyone in the family. Yasmin told her husband that she had lied to police to protect their son, according to Jeffrey's deposition. Jeffrey then called the family's attorney, Mycki Ratzan, and told her to hurry over.

With Ratzan at his side, Jeffrey finally told police the truth: It was his son who had killed Muñoz. (In fact, cops had already determined as much from the blood on the shotgun.)


Ratzan then shut down the investigation into her clients, telling Nye they were too shaken up to give statements that day. The detective didn't protest. Nor did she search the house, take blood samples from either of the confessed shooters, swab their hands for gunshot residue, or impound the Wave­Runner.

Instead, Nye focused on Reynaldo Muñoz, whose lifeless body lay on the mansion's manicured grass. She began by ordering that his blood be drawn and tested for drugs. Then she interviewed Carolina López. The young woman had arrived at the crime scene with Reynaldo's parents. López claimed to be just helping translate for the Muñozes, but when Nye spoke to Reynaldo's mother, the detective learned López was the young man's girlfriend.

After hours of denial, López finally broke down later that night at police headquarters. She told Nye that the couple had set out that morning to steal a WaveRunner, which she claimed Reynaldo had planned to sell for $2,000 to his buddy Yandiel "El Negro" Cepero.

Reynaldo Jr. had parked his truck at Pelican Harbor Marina. Then he and López had ridden together to the Davises' bayfront property. Reynaldo had jumped off his watercraft, scaled the seawall, and tipped the family's red Yamaha WaveRunner into the water.

López also revealed something else to the detective: Reynaldo was deaf and mute. He couldn't possibly have threatened to shoot Yasmin Davis, because he couldn't talk. But Nye was skeptical, even when interviewing Reynaldo's mother.

"The detective was shocked when I told her that my son was deaf," Idalmis says. "She said, 'Are you sure?' Of course I'm sure. He's my son!"

But instead of pressing the Davises on why they'd lied about the shooting, Nye trained her suspicion on the Muñozes. "She wanted me to come down to the police station," Reynaldo Sr. says. "Why not come here and talk to me in my house? I'm not a criminal."

During the funeral a few days later, Idalmis clutched her son's hand as if expecting Reynaldo to wake up. It was only afterward that she learned the ceremony had almost been canceled: Detective Nye had called asking that the funeral be postponed so that a second autopsy could be performed.

"She still thought we were lying about him being deaf," Idalmis scoffs. "From the beginning, she treated us worse than she did the rich people who killed my son."

Reynaldo's parents were stunned by Detective Nye's seemingly one-sided investigation. They shouldn't have been surprised. Records obtained by New Times show Nye has a habit of bungling cases. She has ignored exculpatory evidence, lost a crucial confession, and abused her power as a police officer. Her mistakes have imprisoned an innocent man and led to the release of a suspected rapist.

Along with Florida's Stand Your Ground law, Nye's shoddy police work ensured no one was punished for killing Reynaldo Muñoz.

"Were there a few mistakes? Possibly there were," says Nye's supervisor, Miami-Dade Police Lt. Jim Tietz. "But I don't think any of them had any impact on the case, and I'm confident that she did a fine job."

Nye was born in Michigan but moved to Florida before attending the University of Miami. She studied sociology, graduated with a 3.32 GPA in 1997, and joined the Miami-Dade Police Department three years later. Her first five years on the force were fairly uneventful. She patrolled Liberty City and Hialeah and received only a couple of complaints. Her troubles as a detective began in 2006, when she joined the Sexual Crimes Bureau. Eight months into her new assignment, Nye was told to investigate the alleged assault of a young Haitian-American woman by a 64-year-old white man named Richard J. Campbell.

The woman told Nye she had gotten drunk at a South Beach restaurant and called Campbell, a family friend, for a ride. On the way home, she passed out. When she awoke, Campbell was performing oral sex on her.

"I was in shock," she told Nye. "I asked [Campbell] what he was doing, and [he] just straightened up as if nothing were going on. I told [him] that God would punish him for what he had done. [Campbell] responded by saying that the Devil had made him do it. I started crying and told him that I was going to call the police."

According to the woman's affidavit, Campbell then tried to bribe her to forget the incident. When she refused, he threatened to kill her, smashed her phone, and drove her to his house in Miami Gardens. Inside, a scene as sick as a Quentin Tarantino film unfolded. Campbell allegedly began singing the theme song to Bonanza as he put an Uzi to her head. When she promised not to tell the police, he took her to a room he had specially decorated in pink for his "princess" and remained there until she fell asleep.


The woman escaped the next morning. When police searched Campbell's house, they found several guns and a magazine clip for an Uzi. More important, cops said Campbell confessed to the crime. In a taped, sworn statement, the old man admitted to performing cunnilingus on the 22-year-old woman but claimed she had only "feigned" passing out, according to depositions of two police officers.

But the case against Campbell would fall apart when Nye lost the taped confession. She told prosecutors that a purse containing the crucial audiotape was stolen from her car. As a result, Campbell spent five years in jail but was never put on trial. He walked free last year when prosecutors finally dropped the charges. (Campbell, who pleaded not guilty, now denies confessing, according to his attorney, Anthony Genova.)

A year after Campbell's confession was stolen, Nye was once again in trouble. This time it was personal. Nye's ex-husband, fellow cop Luis Manuel Marrero, had been arrested June 14, 2008, for sexually assaulting one of their two teenage daughters, along with one of the girl's friends.

Nye needed Marrero to sign over custody of the kids and their house. But instead of scheduling a personal visit with her ex-husband, she pretended to be at the jail on official police duty. She listed her reason for visiting as an "interview" and requested that a notary sign off on the documents. It was only when she was confronted by Broward County Jail officials that Nye "realized that it was personal, not business," and apologized.

The detective was reprimanded for departmental misconduct and conduct unbecoming an officer but escaped harsher punishment because of the traumatic circumstances surrounding the sexual abuse, for which Marrero was later convicted.

Nye was also at the center of a controversial attempted murder case in June 2010. Promising professional boxer Yathomas Riley was accused of shooting ex-girlfriend Koketia King in the face. But a New Times investigation found that Nye had ignored key evidence: a bloody letter found at the scene that bolstered Riley's story that King had tried to kill herself. After New Times published its investigation, prosecutors were forced to drop the attempted murder charge and free Riley after more than two years behind bars.

"She omitted things," Lisa Amodio, Yathomas' wife, says of Detective Nye. "That's what hurt us, and that's what kept him in jail: her statements and her writeups. They just weren't truthful."

In fact, Nye is no longer a homicide detective. "A pattern of concern was identified in several of Officer Nye's investigations, for which she received the appropriate discipline and was assigned to the Northwest District uniform patrol," the Miami-Dade Police Department said in a written response to New Times' inquiries about her investigations. An MDPD spokesman declined to elaborate further or allow New Times to interview Nye directly.

The Muñozes couldn't have known about Nye's terrible track record as a detective. But they could see the mistakes she was making in their son's case. So could prosecutors.

"Matters might have been made easier had the police sought and obtained gunshot residue swabs from Yasmin Davis and her son, but they did not," Assistant State Attorney Gary Winston complained in a scathing email to a colleague. "Nor did they seek to impound their cell phones or verify that no security camera focused on the back yard of the home. Police also did not get a search warrant to search the Davis home."

But Nye's costliest mistake was the same one she committed against Riley: prematurely taking sides. How else to explain her baffling decision to wait two months to interview Yasmin Davis? Or the six-month delay before sitting down with Jack Davis?

By then, the Davises' inconsistent account of the shooting had been replaced by a seamless recitation of Stand Your Ground. Armed with the knowledge that Muñoz was deaf, Yasmin Davis changed her story. Instead of the thief — who couldn't talk — telling her, "I have a gun," she now said she thought he was on drugs because he didn't respond to her pleas for him to leave.

She also told Nye that she thought she heard Reynaldo mutter "gun" while putting something black inside the WaveRunner. (In fact, it was a circuit board he had used to hot-wire the watercraft.) Yasmin Davis told her son to wait to see if the thief would leave on the stolen Wave­Runner, she told Nye. But instead, Reynaldo flashed her an angry look and turned back toward the Davises while reaching for the supposed gun. Only then did she tell her son to fire, Davis claimed.

Davis' story still conflicted with the physical evidence: Reynaldo was shot in the back of his head, so he couldn't have been angrily heading toward them. He couldn't even say "mami" or "papi," let alone "gun." There was no gun, only a black box that hardly resembled a weapon. And there was no record on the 911 tape of her telling her son to wait or of her telling Muñoz to "please leave."


But neither those facts nor the Davises' lies mattered. Under Stand Your Ground, a person is justified in using deadly force if "he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another."

When they were finally interviewed months after the crime, Yasmin and Jack Davis told a well-coordinated tale of being terrified that Reynaldo Muñoz Jr. would kill them.

"Yasmin and Jack Davis were in legitimate fear for their lives," says the family's attorney, Jeffrey Weiner. As for Yasmin lying to police about the shooting, Weiner says "many parents would do the same" to protect their son. "She told him to shoot, so in her mind, she did it."

Prosecutors sympathized. On June 18, 2013, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office announced it would not file criminal charges against Jack or Yasmin Davis. Simply put, Stand Your Ground gave the shooter the benefit of the doubt.

"There is a reasonable hypothesis of innocence which the State cannot credibly refute," read a closeout memo. "Because J.D. reasonably believed he and his mother were being attacked and were in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm at the hands of Reynaldo Muñoz, he had a right to stand his ground and meet force with force."

Idalmis learned of the ­decision from the Telemundo news ­anchor parked outside her house.

"After two years of waiting, of going 30 times to the prosecutor's office, they couldn't call me or send me an email before notifying the media?" she says. "I felt betrayed."

Jeffrey Davis would love to talk about the day his son killed Reynaldo Muñoz, but now is not a good time. He is getting sued.

"If there weren't a frivolous lawsuit filed against me for money damages by the family of the thief who was killed while committing a criminal act, then it would be really great for my family to tell our side of the story, as horrible as it was," the handsome personal injury attorney tells New Times over the phone. "However, since the thief's family's bottom-feeding attorneys take every single comment made by the press and incorporate that into the lawsuit because they have no other evidence, I am unwilling to further tell the truth about what happened at this time."

On November 9, 2011, the Muñozes sued Jeffrey and Yasmin Davis for negligence in the death of their son. With criminal charges now dropped, the civil trial is moving forward. But what the Davises see as a fishing expedition could be the Muñozes' last chance for closure.

"If they find new evidence in the civil case, they can reopen the criminal case," Idalmis says. "Nothing else matters to us. We don't care about money. We just want justice."

Sitting at the kitchen table in her modest Hialeah house, Idalmis wipes away tears every time talk turns to her son. It has been more than two years since Reynaldo was killed, but there are still days when her mind spins uncontrollably with grief. Today, her husband sits across from her, holding an unlit Marlboro in his callused, oil-stained hands. A fish tank bubbles in the background.

"Right now it's very difficult to talk about," Reynaldo Sr. says. "At the beginning, it was impossible. No one understands. There is a moment in which you close yourself off to everyone."

"There are times when the lawyer will call, and I will feel sick," Idalmis adds. Sick because cops and prosecutors seemed to treat their son as a second-class citizen. Sick because Stand Your Ground makes no sense.

"George Zimmerman killed that boy and was put on trial," she says. "But at least there was a confrontation. There was no confrontation when my son was shot. They just killed him because they were angry he stole their Jet Ski."

Indeed, in states without Stand Your Ground, Jack and Yasmin Davis might both be behind bars. But in Florida, the "law allows citizens to kill other citizens in defense of property," writes Brooklyn law professor Anthony J. Sebok.

"The principle holding that life is more valuable than the defense of property is deeply embedded in our legal history," he wrote in 2005, when the law was passed. "The Florida law contravenes this simple principle. (That it does so by hiding behind a legislative 'presumption' that all burglars or car thieves are potential killers should not obscure that fact.)"


Even worse, by relying on something as ambiguous as "reasonable fear," Stand Your Ground gives police officers and prosecutors tremendous leeway to decide whom to believe. More often than not, it's the surviving shooter — the person with the greatest incentive to lie.

"The user of force is most likely to provide a rendition of facts that would make it seem objectively reasonable that he or she had reasonable fear and that the amount of force was reasonable," Florida attorney Zachary L. Weaver wrote in the Miami Law Review in 2008. "If police rely solely on the user of force's claim and do not perform a more thorough investigation into whether there is other evidence that the force used was unreasonable, then there is too great an opportunity for injustice."

It's no wonder, then, that justified homicides have risen 200 percent since Florida passed Stand Your Ground. This vigilantism is based more in fear than fact, however. Gun permit applications and inequality are both soaring across the state, but violent crime is at a 20-year low.

Race plays a role in who can kill with impunity. Stand Your Ground cases with white victims result in charges more often than when the victim is black, according to an analysis last year by the Tampa Bay Times.

But class is also a crucial factor. Shooters such as the Davises, who are wealthy enough to hire lawyers to spin convincing scare stories in court, are the most likely to get off. "This is a fight between the rich and the poor," Reynaldo Sr. says.

Yet the Muñozes readily admit their son broke the law. It's not knowing why that haunts them.

"I ask myself over and over again why he did it," Idalmis says, swiping away a tear. "He wasn't a millionaire, but he didn't need the money. He wasn't greedy or ambitious. How did it occur to him to steal a Jet Ski?"

Perhaps Reynaldo was just rebelling against his overly protective parents. Perhaps the deaf kid who could fix anything had finally found an easy — if illegal — way to make friends. Both are possible, Idalmis admits. "Childhood is never perfect. We all make mistakes, and life goes on," she says. "But whatever he did, my son didn't deserve to die."

Darkness descends on Hialeah. As Idalmis sets the table for dinner, a small tattoo reading "Reinaldito" reveals itself on her left wrist. The mother who for years wouldn't allow her son to get inked got an homage to him a few months ago. The Muñoz family sits down to eat — one plate fewer now. Far away, in their Miami Shores mansion, the Davises are also about to dine.

"Let me tell you something," Reynaldo Sr. says over the murmur of the fish tank. "They might have a lot of money, but it won't do them any good. They might be rich, but it won't help them if the truth finally comes out."

Reynaldo Muñoz Jr. the day he graduated from high school.
Courtesy of the Muñoz family

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