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Miami-Dade Police Officer Shot, Killed In Puerto Rico


An investigation is under way into the fatal shootings of a Miami-Dade police officer and his sister, whose bodies were found Thursday in Puerto Rico.

Miami-Dade police confirmed that the bullet-riddled bodies of Officer Juan L. Aviles, 34, and his sister, Jasmin, were discovered in a rental car on the side of a road in the city of Villalba.

Local 10's Ross Palombo spoke with Aviles' father on Thursday.

"He was a very good officer, one of the best," said Juan Aviles Mercado, while speaking of his murdered son.

The siblings had been visiting their mother in Villalba, a city southwest of San Juan.

Police said Aviles' body was inside the car, and his sister's was just outside the door.

"Right now, we don't have information as to what the motive could have been," said Lt. Rosanna Codero-Stutz, of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

As the Miami-Dade Police Department confirmed the news of Aviles' death, details emerged from the Ponce Province Police Department in Puerto Rico, which is handling the investigation. The forensics team found three small bags of white powder on Aviles, which have yet to be analyzed.

Friends at the Miami-Dade Police Department's Midwest District, where Aviles worked, said he was a good man and a good cop. His wife, who is also a police officer, is on maternity leave with newborn twins.

Before joining the Miami-Dade Police Department in 2006, Aviles worked for Wackenhut, a security company accused at that time of overbilling Miami-Dade County for guards who were never on duty at Metrorail stations.

Investigators' records detailing the arrests of Wackenhut employees indicate that Aviles blew the whistle on fraudulent logs and overbilling, which he called the "ghost post." First, he was suspended from Wackenhut; then he quit. He was scheduled to appear as a witness in a racketeering case against Wackenhut brass next month.

Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the prosecutors in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, told Local 10, "We are in the process of evaluating the impact this witness' death has on our case."

The more immediate effects are on the Aviles family, his co-workers and his wife and newborn twins.

"Our stand on it is to make sure we provide her with all the support she needs for what she's going through at this time, along with the rest of their family," Codero-Stuts.

Codero-Stutz said there is no information yet available about a funeral or memorial.

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