The $65,000 question: Will caretaker get Cunanan reward?
Man who stumbled onto fugitive sues to collectJuly 25, 1997
Web posted at: 8:12 p.m. EDT (0012 GMT)
MIAMI (CNN) -- The caretaker who stumbled onto suspected spree killer Andrew Cunanan on a Miami Beach houseboat has filed a lawsuit to claim the $65,000 in reward money that had been offered for the fugitive's capture.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, the attorney for Fernando Carreira, David Aelion, says Miami Beach and Dade County officials are balking at giving his client the money.
Aelion says the 71-year-old caretaker deserves the reward for his role in leading authorities to Cunanan, who shot himself Wednesday afternoon shortly after Carreira discovered him on the boat.
Cunanan, the subject of an intense nationwide manhunt, was suspected of committing five murders, including the slaying of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace.
"[Carreira] ended this for all of us," Aelion said. "Imagine the amounts of money that he saved the law enforcement community for the extra days or weeks that it could have taken ... to capture Andrew Cunanan."
Miami Beach officials released a statement Friday saying a decision on distributing the reward money would be made when the investigation into Cunanan's suicide was finished.
"[Carreira] is certainly eligible for consideration once the investigation is completed," the statement said.
However, police officials had earlier said they were not sure Carreira would qualify for the reward, because he called police to report a suspected burglar, without initially mentioning Cunanan.
German fugitive sold boat to doctor
On Friday, CNN also learned that the German fugitive who had been identified as the owner of the houseboat after Cunanan's suicide had sold the boat to a German doctor two months earlier.
Torsten Franz Reineck voluntarily met with FBI officials in Las Vegas Thursday to answer questions about the boat and any possible connection he might have had to Cunanan. The FBI released no details of the interview, but an agent later said there was no evidence to connect the two.
Reineck is wanted in Germany on fraud charges. However, German officials have told the FBI they will not seek to extradite Reineck from the United States. In a statement, the Las Vegas FBI office said the agency "does not anticipate arresting Mr. Reineck."
Sources have also told CNN that a phone call was made from the houseboat during the time Cunanan was believed to be hiding on board. The call was to California.
FBI officials have said Cunanan called at least one acquaintance after the Versace murder, looking for a passport so he could leave the country. They declined to identify who that person was or where the acquaintance was located.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Special section: The death of Cunanan
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