Hearings Raise New Questions About Investigation Into WaveRunner Killing
Four years after a fatal shooting shattered two families, new court documents add to the evidence that a Miami-Dade Police detective botched her investigation of the incident.
On May 21, 2011, 14-year-old Jack Davis fatally shot an unarmed Reynaldo Muñoz Jr. while Muñoz was trying to steal a WaveRunner. In an October 2013 article ("Dead in the Water"), New Times found that cops ignored evidence, mishandled information, and rushed to exculpate the wealthy, well-connected Davis family. Now civil trial depositions bolster that idea.
"This thing was never investigated," attorney Juan Lucas Alvarez says. "The Muñoz family never had a chance."
See also: Shot Dead on a Stolen WaveRunner
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Muñoz's parents are now suing the Davises for Reynaldo's allegedly wrongful death. Evidentiary hearings in the case were held in November and December.
The most surprising revelation from those hearings was how Miami-Dade detectives barely investigated the mysterious shooting.
Officer Dalyn Nye-Gonzalez, the lead detective on the case, admitted in court that she made up her mind about the killing within minutes of arriving on the scene -- without interviewing any suspects or analyzing all the evidence.
"What I'm telling you is I did not suspect that Jack had committed a crime or his mother had committed a crime," she said.
"Right off the bat?" Muñoz family attorney David Durkee asked in disbelief.
Nye-Gonzalez also said she was unaware at the time that another officer had allowed Jack Davis and his father, high-profile lawyer Jeff Davis, to leave the crime scene for more than an hour. When they returned, they arrived with attorneys who told the cops their clients would not give statements because Jack had to prepare for school final exams.
Nye-Gonzalez scheduled an interview for two days later, but the Davis family canceled. More than six months would pass before she would speak to Jack Davis. Nye-Gonzalez also testified she wanted to swab the suspects for gunshot residue but didn't because the family "declined."
Alvarez says Nye-Gonzalez's testimony was a "disaster."
(She is no longer a homicide detective. According to MDPD, "A pattern of concern was identified in several of Officer Nye's investigations, for which she received the appropriate discipline.")
"Frankly, it was quite disturbing," Alvarez said of the former detective's deposition. "From the start, cops simply accepted the Davises' story. The wife said [Muñoz] had a gun; the kid was scared. Case closed. Pack it up."
(Muñoz did not have a gun, contrary to the Davises' claims.)
An attorney representing the Davises did not respond to a request for comment. A judge has yet to rule whether the case will move forward.
The evidentiary hearing transcripts are below. Detective Nye-Gonzalez's cross-examination testimony begins on page 149 of the first document and continues onto the second.
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