Chavarria and Gonzales believe Smiley kidnapped and probably killed Bello, but LAPD Foothills Division homicide supervisor Jim Freund says, "We can't prove that he was kidnapped. That came from the brother . . . Obviously someone dropped him off in the position" in which he was found, lying in his backseat with a bag pulled over his head.
But when it comes to murders and kidnappings in linked to Jose Saenz, Detective Gonzales says, "People aren't willing to cooperate and talk about what is going on and what is happening."
The killer of his daughter's mother has won silence on the streets of Southern California. Short of a confession from Smiley, Bello's death will go down as accidental, a reminder that the cross-border drug carnage in America's cities — fueled by Smiley and those like him, and their willing customers — is never fully measured.