Arrow-right Camera


Motive Died With Murderer Questions Remain For Eternity As Police Close Versace Case

Wed., Dec. 31, 1997

Five months and hundreds of interviews after Gianni Versace was slain, the answer to why the fashion designer was gunned down remains buried with his killer, Andrew Cunanan.

Police here closed their investigation Tuesday into the July 15 slaying, stating they had no idea why Cunanan shot Versace on the steps of the designer’s oceanfront mansion.

“The real answer to that went down with the ship, so to speak, when Andrew Cunanan committed suicide,” Police Chief Richard Barreto said.

Cunanan, 27, shot himself a week after Versace’s death on a houseboat he was using as a hide-out. Investigators believe Cunanan killed four others before Versace in a spree that began in March.

Police released a voluminous set of documents Tuesday detailing dozens of real and false leads generated by the manhunt for Versace’s killer.

The files consisted of more than 900 pages and 1,000 photos, but none from the autopsy. Versace family members sued Tuesday to keep the photos private, and police withheld them until the matter is resolved.

Police believe Cunanan started his spree in late March by killing two acquaintances in Minnesota. They suspect he then killed a millionaire developer in Chicago and a park caretaker in New Jersey - to steal the victims’ cars - before heading to Miami Beach.

The police files included contacts with associates of Versace and Cunanan, interviews with principals of Miami Beach’s gay nightclub scene and inventories of items found in Cunanan’s hideaways in the area.

A document dated Monday determined that police had no proof of previous links between Cunanan, Versace, and Torsten Reineck, the German owner of the houseboat where Cunanan killed himself.


Click here to comment on this story »