Longform

Miami food truck disappears, a 25-year-old is killed

Shortly after 4 p.m. October 1, food truck operator Troy Thomas tweeted an urgent bulletin to his 1,855 followers: "The rolling stove was stolen today if anyone has seen it please let me know."

Within minutes, foodies and other truck operators bombarded 5,000 more people with retweets and replies. Here is a sampling:

@WCFLA: The Rolling Stove has been stolen! Call police if you see it. Not a joke!

@MsCheezious: if anyone sees @theRollingStove truck...call police...it has been stolen PLEASE RT."

@SugarRushMIAMI: Find the stove! RT

@FoodTruckinvasion: Gang need ur help. If you see the Rolling Stove truck call. No joke, truck has been stolen.

Thomas posted a similar plea for help on Facebook, which generated an equally vigorous response. By the end of the evening, the Rolling Stove was a trending topic on Twitter. The Miami Herald and WPLG Channel 10 covered the caper too. The social media buzz had the traditional media outlets marveling at the food truck community's ability to mobilize a BOLO via tweets and status updates.

The truck was recovered two hours later. Forgotten, though, was the story of the truck's theft, which might or might not be have something to do with the murder of a 25-year-old, Puerto Rican-born homebody named Yamil Rosaly Jr. Shortly after dawn October 1, Yamil's mom, Claudia, discovered her son's lifeless body on the front porch. His face had been bashed in. "I feel destroyed," she says tearfully. "He was a good boy who never roamed the streets or had any vices."

Claudia, as well as other relatives and friends of Yamil's, believe Nagib Castillo, a 25-year-old Colombian cook for the Rolling Stove, might have had something to do with their loved one's death. Castillo admitted to Hialeah police detectives that he had gotten into a vicious fistfight with Yamil, but he insisted he did not kill his friend.

A short, chubby young man with a thin goatee and almond-shaped brown eyes, Yamil was born in San Juan in 1983. Four years later, Claudia left her husband and relocated to Miami, where Yamil attended Lora Park Elementary, Miami Springs Middle School, and Miami Springs Senior High.

Yamil got into a lot of fights as a kid because older, bigger children picked on him, says longtime friend Romy Vidal. The boy and his mom moved from efficiency to efficiency in east Hialeah. However, she has never relocated too far from the Burger King where she has worked for the past 15 years. "Yamil always lived within ten blocks of my house," Vidal says. "He loved playing basketball and football at the park."

In high school, Yamil collected baseball caps and liked hip-hop music. "He had about 30 to 40 hats," Vidal recalls. "And he was always the first one on the block to get the latest new rap album."

While attending Miami Springs High, Vidal and Yamil met Castillo, whom Vidal describes as a teen who was constantly in trouble with the law. "We never really got to know Nagib because he was in and out of juvie," Vidal says. "He'd go in for six months and then we would see him when he was released. But it wouldn't last long."

Prior to his violent death, Yamil was a "homebody" who spent his free time searching YouTube for new music artists and played Xbox games against online opponents. "He was superfriendly and a social drinker," his cousin Veronica Soto says, "so it's not like he didn't know how to have a good time."

In 2004, Yamil was kicked out of Miami Springs for skipping too many classes, Vidal and Soto recall. "That was his biggest regret," Vidal says. "He spent close to two years just moping around his house."

Finally, in 2006, his mom's brother got Yamil a job at Dollar Rent a Car, where his uncle is a customer service representative, near Miami International Airport. During his first year of employment, Yamil walked 25 city blocks from his house to Dollar, Vidal says. "He finally saved up enough money to buy a white Mitsubishi Galant. He took pride in his car. He added rims and a $1,500 sound system to it."

Vidal and Soto can't remember the exact date, but a few months before his death, Yamil ran into Castillo, and the pair began hanging out. "Nagib was more laid-back and chill than when he was in high school and getting in trouble," Vidal says. "I wasn't hanging out as much with Yamil, so I guess Nagib filled the friendship void."

Yamil, Castillo, and others would play basketball every Friday and Saturday. The new BFFs would also spend a lot of time drinking together. "There were tons of photos of Yamilito and Nagib together on Facebook," Soto says. "They would throw parties for each other."

Soto didn't understand why Yamil, who had never been arrested, wanted to hang out with someone who had a criminal record. When he was 20, Castillo was arrested for armed burglary. According to a Hialeah police report, on April 7, 2006, Castillo and his girlfriend, Christine Taveras, broke into a house at 480 W. 42nd Pl. while the residents were inside. One of the victims claimed Castillo had brandished a gun. Six days later, Castillo was cuffed while working the stove at an Applebee's in Doral.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.