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Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)
May 3, 1996
Author: Brendan Smith
While television news helicopters circled overhead and neighbors huddled in small groups Thursday afternoon, police investigated a triple murder at Apt. 310 of the Anatole Apartments. The bodies of two men and one woman who had been shot to death were found at 3:41 p.m. at the apartment complex at the northeast corner of Dunn Avenue and Jimmy Ann Drive.
The victims have tentatively been identified as two Italian brothers, Luigi and Riccardo Cravosio, and Luigi’s German girlfriend, Renata Silvia Rinkman. Luigi, 27, and his 23-year-old girlfriend were found in the bedroom, while 24-year-old Riccardo’s body was found in the living room, where the front door was forced open and there was evidence of a struggle, Daytona Beach police spokesman Al Tolley said.
Police strongly suspect 37-year-old Ronald D. Hernandez, a severely depressed neighbor of the victims, bought a secondhand 9mm pistol and four clips of ammunition Saturday and then killed the trio Monday morning. Hernandez lived in Apt. 313 for two years with his wife, Jayne, and a white terrier.
At about 9 a.m. Monday, a neighbor at the apartment complex called police and said she had heard three gunshots. An officer responded and talked with some neighbors but did not note anything wrong, Tolley said. Meanwhile, Hernandez was headed for New York. He drove more than 1,000 miles to Port Ewen, where he shot his 37-year-old cousin four times and her 4-year-old son once in the belly Tuesday morning. Rose Lane and her son, Brandon, survived the attack but were still hospitalized Thursday.
Hernandez then led police on a wild chase and grazed a water delivery man with a bullet while trying to shoot officers who were following him in nearby Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The chase ended when Hernandez put the gun in his mouth and shot and killed himself. His rental car crashed into a utility pole, narrowly missing a police officer standing in the street with his gun drawn.
The bodies of the three local victims weren’t discovered until Thursday afternoon when a friend pushed open the apartment door and noticed a foul odor. He called a maintenance man who saw the bodies and called police.
Hernandez seemed to have an infatuation with Rinkman, Luigi’s attractive girlfriend who frequently laid out by the apartment pool, neighbors said. “We were always talking about her sitting there by the pool,” said a 70-year-old neighbor who asked not to be identified. “(Hernandez) went after her. He was obsessed about her.”
Mrs. Hernandez last saw her husband Monday when he left a note at about 7:50 a.m. and walked out the door. While the note was not a suicide note, it did say that he planned to visit relatives in Dutchess County, N.Y.
Mrs. Hernandez filed a missing person’s report with Daytona Beach police at 10:28 a.m. Tuesday, saying her husband was armed, suffered mental problems and “has the potential to hurt himself.” Hernandez suffered from depression and had stopped taking his medication about a month ago. One of his brothers also had killed himself.
Mrs. Hernandez’s report came too late. Her husband, who was born in Tarrytown, N.Y., already had completed his all-night drive to Port Ewen and knocked on his cousin’s door at 9:30 a.m. Police belive he was angry at Lane for supposedly forgetting about him during the two years he lived in Florida.
Police have not conclusively linked Hernandez to the triple murder here, but are planning ballistics tests from the 9mm pistol confiscated by Poughkeepsie police after his death there.
“It appears there would be enough time for this (triple murder) to occur and for the occurrences up there to be done by the same person,” Tolley said.
Hernandez seemed to love his car and his dog more than other people, neighbors said. He was unemployed and had moved to Daytona Beach from Poughkeepsie after he was injured in a car accident and went on disability.
“He was a very strange guy. He washed his car several times a day every day,” said neighbor Leslie Van Ness. “He was more strange than usual in the past weeks. He just looked and acted odd.”
Neighbors said Hernandez kept to himself and would sometimes mutter things or make inappropriate responses to small talk.
“You knew nothing about this couple except whether he liked you or not,” a neighbor said. “You didn’t know anything about this man, what he ate or drank, except that he loved his dog.”
Except for some close friends of the victims who grieved over their deaths, the mood among most neighbors was one of morbid curiosity. One man in a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt filmed the bodies being removed from the apartment.
“Have they taken the bodies out yet?” one neighbor asked as she rushed from her apartment to the sidewalk. ‘Tell them to hurry up so I can go eat.”
Luigi Cravosio was studying to become an airline pilot at Phoenix East Aviation at Daytona Beach International Airport. His brother, Riccardo, was visiting from the Dominican Republic, where he worked at a hotel.
“He was my best friend,” fellow student pilot Zafer Atassi said of Luigi. “We hang out together almost every day. We used to fly together all the time.”
Copyright, 1996, The News-Journal Corporation
Record Number: 9605030437