By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
RJ's body was transported to the county morgue by independent contractors hired by the Medical Examiner's Office, standard procedure when no medical examiner is present at the scene of a crime. There it sat for 48 hours, cause of death unknown. Larry Cameron explains the delay: "Ninety-nine percent of the time when we have a body, it's ready for release within 24 hours." But on January 4, Cameron says, the "case sheet," or number of bodies scheduled for autopsies, was "extremely long." RJ's must have been near the bottom of the list.
On January 6 the autopsy revealed what should have been obvious: RJ had been shot. "Cause of death is a gunshot wound of the chest," confirms Sandra Boyd, an investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office. That finding was relayed to police, who suddenly had a murder on their hands.
Officers scrambled back to the apartment, which had already been washed clean and traipsed through by the roommates. VonFouts and Webb had returned to remove plastic that covered the loft's drafty windows (hoping to ventilate the rooms) and to gather clothes for a move to the Radisson Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard. They stayed at the hotel for a week, and later moved out of the loft altogether.
Says VonFouts: "Forty-eight hours later [detectives] called me up: 'You have to get down [to the loft] right away' -- getting all nasty with me." He returned to find the doorways crisscrossed with yellow crime-scene tape and the area swarming with TV news crews.
Detectives questioned him again. "I was trying to tell them about what I saw when I got there, which was the same story I told them when I originally got there," he says. "And all of a sudden they wanted to know all these new details. I told them about the beer bottles and the vodka bottle, but everything had been kinda cleaned up."
I Hate Whoever Did This Kaytlynn admits she is not the most well-informed person. She doesn't read newspapers or watch television news, and so was not aware of news accounts of the murder.
She hadn't heard from RJ in a week and thought their affair was over, despite the thousands of minutes they'd spent talking. On January 9, she says, she received a call from a Miami police detective named Moises Velasquez. The detective, who took charge of the investigation when the case was classified as a homicide, said he wanted to talk to her about RJ but didn't mention anything about the shooting. She feared the worst while holding out hope that RJ was just in some sort of trouble. But in the course of her five-and-a-half-hour interview, it became clear he was gone. "It wasn't till after all that that they told me," she says through tears. "I don't even think I can explain. RJ changed my life. I had been going through my life on autopilot, half asleep, and in the two months I knew him, I have never been so understood."
Kaytlynn says she had no plans to drive down to RJ's loft on New Year's Eve. In fact, she says, she told RJ she'd be at home hosting a party. "Right before midnight," she says, "we were sitting in my house, eating ice cream cake and waiting for the ball to drop." A video of the party had been taken around midnight with a camera her boyfriend had received as a Christmas gift. "It's time- and date-stamped," she notes. (Detective Velasquez has seen the tape and interviewed other party attendees.)
"To be hours away from everything you ever wanted and then lose it all," she says. "I just don't know how to get past that yet. And that has made me wonder, was there somebody that didn't want us to be together?"
Kaytlynn says she is willing to take a polygraph test and do "anything they ask" to find RJ's killer. According to Detective Velasquez, there are no plans to call her back for questioning. Yet all of RJ's friends and relatives contacted for this story -- none of whom has met Kaytlynn -- say they believe she has more information regarding his death.
Her former boyfriend, who declined comment for this story, was interviewed once by police in mid-February. "He was completely in the dark," says Kaytlynn, referring to her relationship with RJ and his death. "And when I laid it all out for him, he was completely devastated." She says she is no longer dating him and has moved in with her mother.
Three days after learning that RJ was dead, Kaytlynn posted this message on tribe.net, another Internet community she and RJ frequented.
January 12, 2004 - 07:59 AM
A Moment of Silence ... for R.J. Lockwood.
I don't know how I'm going to live with this. How I can possibly stand it. R.J. changed my life and I do not have the words to express what he means to me. I am so angry. I want to scream and break things the way my heart is breaking. It's been a long time since I hated anything but I hate now. I hate whoever did this. I hate what was taken away from us. Our dreams, plans. R.J. showed me what my life could be and the kind of love and understanding I could never have imagined. He taught me so much. To be true to myself, never to comprimise. To live my life on my terms. I will spend the rest of my life honoring his memory and living what he taught me. But oh God it hurts.