Family members of three young people killed in connection with a Christmas Eve shooting at a San Diego mall want to dispel rumors, saying “no one is hiding anything.”
Sal and Ilona were shot in the parking lot of Westfield Mission Valley mall in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve 2013.
Gianni Belvedere was reported missing after the shooting until his body was discovered in the trunk of his car in Riverside on Jan.17. Investigators revealed Gianni, too, had been a victim of homicide.
The victim’s family members have launched a website to combat rumors they say are swirling around the murder mystery.
“There have been many rumors and speculation from love triangles, drug deals, you name it! None of the speculation has any merit,” a post on the site reads.
It's also the first time we're hearing from the parents regarding speculation as to who might target their two sons.
“We are good parents, we prayed, and we taught them good morals. There has never been any violence in our families,” reads a post written by their mother.
The family reports that police believe Gianni Belvedere was last seen on Friars Road at 10 p.m.
When Gianni didn’t arrive to pick Ilona up from her job at Cathy Jean shoes, Ilona called Sal.
The family said Sal was awakened by Ilona’s call and parked in the “usual area/spot where Ilona is picked up from when finishing work.”
The site then shares this breakdown of a police radio call made after Ilona called 911 for help. The term “X-ray” is code for woman on police scanners.
1:10:47 AM - Call is picked up.
1:13:32 AM - "X-Ray said I'm at Mission Valley Westhills Mall"
1:13:55 AM - "Then yelled ouch I've been shot"
1:14:21 AM - "The RP (reporting party) stopped talking"
The website claims police records cite a car matching the suspect’s description “traveling at a high rate of speed on 43rd Street in San Diego.”
Three months later, the case remains a mystery.
The most recent suspect information released by investigators was of a man wearing a black hoodie with white bands in the biceps area of the sweatshirt, tan pants and white tennis shoes. He was described as an unknown race, standing 5-foot-10 to 6-foot, police said.
It's believed that the suspect was at the Mission Valley mall at 11:15 p.m. the night before the shooting and returned to the mall at 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 24.
The family said Gianni was working as the manager of the family's restaurant Mario's. Sal was working as the chef. The family says they had just finalized the sale of the restaurant a week before the murders.
"Gianni was an outgoing charming people person who was business savvy and Sal was the artist he created each meal with thought and high standards," the site continued.
Of Ilona, her mother, Inga, writes, “She was smart, but didn’t wear it on her sleeve. She was beautiful, but she wasn’t a narcissist. She was kind but didn’t use her kindness as social currency.”
They describe Gianni and Ilona as teenage sweethearts and Sal as their best friend.
To those who wish to help solve the case, the families ask that they either donate to a reward fund or simply keep the case alive by talking about it in the hopes that someone, somewhere will unearth a detail leading to answers.
There is a fundraiser scheduled for April 13 at the Eastbound Bar and Grill in Lakeside.
CrimeStoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Loved ones have also created a website to increase the reward, which has raised $1,000 so far.
At a media briefing Friday, two sisters of the Belvedere brothers, Antoinette and Laura, spoke about the importance of the fundraiser and how extra money could help solve the case.
They said all funds raised on Sunday will be added to the existing Crimestoppers fund.
"The more money we can raise to keep this thing going, so it doesn't die down, the better it is for us. Just to keep it going; I don't want it to die," said Antoinette.
The sisters also talked about the pain of going through life now without their brothers.
"We miss them, dearly. It's a struggle every day for us to wake up knowing that our brothers are not with us," said Laura.
The Belvedere sisters didn't give any updates on the police investigation and said they really had no new details to share.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information can call the San Diego Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or CrimeStoppers at 888-580-8477.