Stella Dimoko Versace's Killer Vanished......


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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Versace's Killer Vanished......

July marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of designer Gianni Versace in South Beach and the search for his killer, Andrew Cunanan. This report on the manhunt, from the Miami Herald archives, was published July 24, 1997.

© FBI/Getty Images Wanted By The Fbi: Andrew Cunanan

He could be in another city, another country or hiding down your block. Andrew Cunanan could be anywhere.

The only thing authorities know for sure is that a suspected serial killer lived quietly in Miami Beach and frolicked loudly on South Florida's gay scene for two months and now seems to have simply vanished, despite massive media exposure and a manhunt that ranks among the largest in state history.

To the public, the fact that an infamous sociopath could pass undetected for so long is unsettling. To experts, it isn't surprising - particularly with South Florida's shifting population of tourists and transients.

"Miami's a good town for this," said Brian McGuinness, a veteran Miami private investigator. "I don't think it's a huge trick to blend into the landscape."

In fact, South Florida is such a great place to turn ghost that Kenn Abaygo, author of Advanced Fugitive: Running, Hiding, Surviving and Thriving Forever lists it as a top destination for the desperate.

"It's excellent. As a matter of fact, in Advanced Fugitive, I recommend Fort Lauderdale. All of South Florida is excellent for urban evasion," said Abaygo, a Plantation resident published by the niche house, Paladin Press, known for controversial guides like Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors.

A week after the brazen slaying of designer Gianni Versace, authorities continue to publicly profess the belief Cunanan remains in South Florida. But that amounts mainly to a presumption police and federal agents must go on until solid leads point them elsewhere.

Some investigators on the case believe he fled immediately. Mike Marquez, a Miami police detective who has spent the past week fielding phone tips, says, "If he's any kind of smart, he's out of here. There are 400 agents out looking for him. He's in the kitchen and there's a lot of heat."

But even with the heat, experts outside the case agree, it's not unusual that Cunanan could hide in plain sight with relative ease - either here or on the run. He has a lot going for him, from where he lived to his lifestyle to his looks.

The neighborhood around the Normandy Plaza Hotel, where Cunanan paid cash for his $36-a-night room, is packed with similar hotels and condos, clean but cheap. With a revolving supply of working-class residents and tourists, Cunanan's behavior - in all day, out all night -didn't raise an eyebrow.

He depended on the same social dynamics that make South Florida a magnet for fleeing crooks and scammers, says McGuinness, the private detective. "It's not like small-town America where people talk about the new stranger."

Before the Versace killing, Cunanan, despite national publicity and status on the FBI's most wanted list, openly mingled in gay clubs from South Beach to Fort Lauderdale - apparently without a single patron recognizing him.

George Mangrum, Miami bureau chief for the gay-oriented magazine Scoop, finds that understandable as well. With South Beach an international tourist destination for gays, there are so many new faces that its hard to be recognized - even for those who work hard at it.

"It's a very different attitude here. It's friendly but it's blas� about other people's lives. It's a very self-centered town," Mangrum said. "It's the same reason Gianni Versace felt like he was able to go unnoticed."

Experts agree another factor working for Cunanan is his appearance. With a pleasant but bland face, Latin-like coloring and medium height and build, he resembles the definition of average South Florida male.

That makes disguise a relatively easy matter. Miami Beach police, who found women's underwear and hair clippers among Cunanan's possessions, issued a caution that he could be dressed as a woman. But even a baseball cap and glasses would serve him well.

"He doesn't have any outstanding physical characteristics," said Humberto Rapado, a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and acting chief of the violent crimes squad, which hunts dangerous criminals.

Human nature also works in Cunanan's favor, Rapado said. Despite the widespread publicity and the thousands of tips pouring in, most people simply don't believe they'd be the ones to spot a killer.

Whether he's in South Florida or elsewhere, he likely is lying low now, says Peter Smerick, a retired FBI agent who specialized in criminal profiling. "He's probably watching every program that comes on and reading every newspaper that's available."

He could be alone or have enlisted help - from a friend or lover here or elsewhere or by threat. His potential hiding places range from houses to houseboats. He could have fled on anything from bike to bus to stolen boat, even a rusty freighter to Haiti. Bogus IDs are a breeze to acquire and with a credit card, it's also simple to drive from Miami to say, New Hampshire, without ever even showing your face to a gas clerk -just slide a credit card into the pump.

On the wilder side, author Abaygo said, Cunanan could even blend into with the homeless, a technique he advocates in his book. "It's remarkably easy to do," said Abaygo, who says he is a former government operative trained in evasion tactics. "When was the last time someone checked into a homeless shelter and was asked for identification?"

Abaygo also likes South Florida for other options, including the Everglades, but he doubts that move for Cunanan. "He's very much an urbanite. He'd be uncomfortable heading out of Miami into the Everglades."

The likelihood, experts say, is that some serious mistake by Cunanan or tip from the public will eventually nail him. The notion that agents can predict the actions of deranged killers like chess masters plot opponent's moves is a "Hollywood type of situation," says Smerick. "Unfortunately, real life doesn't work that way."

In real life, killers sometimes escape. Take Juan Fleitas, one of six killers who tunneled out of Glades Correctional Institution in January 1995. Fleitas slipped through a statewide dragnet.

"There are people who have been gone for a number of years," Rapado says. "Then, there are people we've never heard from again."

Never miss a local story.

from miami herald


  1. Sure he can't run forever

    1. He committed suicide a week later naw. Stella, why are u making it seem as if d killer is sstill alive?

    2. The guy shot himself in d head
      And (Yes) he is dead

  2. He has done plastic surgery jor

    1. I tell you!
      maybe a gender fix too.

  3. Oooochimu!
    All these epistle on top ndi gay! Issorite!

  4. Vice and Virtue5 July 2017 at 11:33

    Andrew Cunanan had killed Chicago tycoon, Lee Miglin and three other people before going ahead to shoot the genius Gianni...funny how no one talks about his other victims who were all elites.

    He was just a kid fascinated by material things and would go any length to get them, I think he became a gay sponge at some point...befriending wealthy older men and using the proceeds from his sexual endeavours to impress his pals in the local gay community.

    Silly twat killed himself nine days after slaying Gianni Versace with the same gun he had shot Gianni and two other of his victims with.

    Versace was EVERYTHING, not now that Donatella, his "very beautiful" sister runs the show. Versace had foresight, Donatella on the other hand has leaned on the expertise of guys like Anthony Vaccarello and others.
    Even though I can't be caught dead wearing a Versace that isn't from the 90's, I've got to give it up for Donatella, Gianni's demise didn't lead to the company's fall.

    RIP Gianni!

    1. Tag ur source jare.awon ccopy nd paste. Chhange some sentences

    2. oh!
      Thank God!
      where they gay partners? maybe a scorned ex?

      just out of curiosity tho...
      do you wear 'Yeezy' collections?
      you know, the bespoke rags, like critics(πŸ˜‰) would like to call it.

    3. Vice & virtue...chop kiss joorπŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ i thought the crazy guy killed himself. Why this story now? The Versace brand has always been top. Even more so now that Donatella and her daughter took charge.
      It's just sad how he was killed by his crazy gay guy.

    4. Lmaoooooo I swear I didn't want to laff anon 13:22.

      Leave 'them'. There was one xerox machine here a few years back. A footballer. When he was outed on the blog, dude ran!!


    5. Lmaoooooo I swear I didn't want to laff anon 13:22.

      Leave 'them'. There was one xerox machine here a few years back. A footballer. When he was outed on the blog, dude ran!!


    6. Kkikikiki.

    7. Don't mind him. " I think e became a gay sponge....". My dear adding I think in front of something u lifted from wiki does not make it yours honey.

    8. Don't mind them. Adding I "think" to something u lifted from wiki does not make it yours. Awon I thhink hhe became a gay sponge

    9. But Cunnanan shot himself not far from where he shot Gianni now. I watched it on dateline about two months ago

  5. Hes dead. He killed himself long time ago.

  6. Andrew cunanan,the person who killed Gianni Versace committed suicide. Or did he resurrect? I am not understanding

  7. He looks like d man I met on d island. Hehehe

  8. Hmmmm if they can dictate his motives for killing, then they can track him if he has a pattern.

  9. Probably hiding somewhere

  10. Maybe this story was from a week after the murder. Lollll

    Dude is deader than a doorknob.

  11. I don't understand.
    But he was found dead on a boat several days after the killing......... 20yrs ago.


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