Reward grows, but still no answers

Reward grows, but still no answers

By Jeanette Steele | 9:35 P.M.JAN. 1, 2014

The family of a man fatally shot at a Mission Valley mall held a candlelight vigil in his honor Wednesday where they announced a $10,000 reward for information about his missing brother.

Salvatore Belvedere, 22, was gunned down in the early hours of Dec. 24 at Westfield Mission Valley mall alongside his brother’s fiancée, Ilona Flint, also 22. They were found in a car outside Macy’s, which was open extended hours for holiday shopping.

Gianni Belvedere, 24, is still missing, and his family repeated pleas at Wednesday’s night vigil for any news of him. At least 60 people gathered at Pacific Beach’s Crystal Pier with lit candles.

“Gianni, if you are listening, we know you have a broken heart. Come home to us. We love you,” said his sister Laura Belvedere. “If anyone has seen Gianni, or is holding him against his will, please return him to us.”

San Diego police homicide investigators have not named Gianni Belvedere as a suspect in the double homicide.

Upon the premise that he fled the scene in fear, family members say they want Utah authorities also to search for his dark green 2004 Toyota Camry XLE with Utah license plate B154VZ.

“Please keep an eye out for Gianni – his car, him, maybe a phone call that you forgot he made to you a day before he went missing. Anything you have,” said the young man’s uncle, Paul Donato, at Wednesday’s gathering.

Relatives say they are mystified about what happened that night when the trio was believed to be out last-minute shopping.

“It makes no sense. These (brothers) were just the greatest pair of kids you’d want to meet,” said Domenic Donato, an older cousin of the two Belvedere boys. “They were thick as thieves and always together. They were just great kids.”

Another uncle, Otto Belvedere of Provo, Utah, recently told KUTV-2 of Salt Lake City that police believe all three were at the mall, a statement that investigators have not confirmed.

“Sal picked up Ilona in my brother’s car,” his uncle said. “Gianni was driving the other car. For what reason, I have no clue.”

As for Gianni, “He was there. They know he was there,” Belvedere told the TV station. “They have an idea that he saw everything and he was there.”

At the vigil, Salvatore Belvedere was described as a dedicated guitar player and surfer who most enjoyed spending time with his large extended family in the San Diego area. His father operates Mario’s restaurant in Lakeside, and both sons worked there.

The family chose Pacific Beach’s Crystal Pier for the vigil because of Salvatore’s love of the location. They played Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, his favorite guitar song. Salvatore Belvedere was buried Tuesday.

“He came out here almost every day to surf. Loved skateboards,” said his younger cousin Domenic Donato, 16. “There wasn’t one person that I could go up to and say, ‘Do you like Sal?’ and they would say, ‘No.’ Everyone loved Sal.”

A vigil for the dead woman, Flint, was held Saturday at La Jolla Shores.

She met Gianni Belvedere in school in Provo, Utah, where the brothers lived until they moved back to San Diego about two to three years ago, according to Belvedere relatives.

Domenic Donato, the 16-year-old cousin, said Gianni Belvedere and Flint were nearing marriage.

“They were together for eight years. It was coming soon,” Donato said.

He added that Flint was also close to Salvatore Belvedere.

“All three of them were inseparable,” he said. “They were all best friends, and they all did everything together.”



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