Kevin Fret Murder Probe Continues, Rocking Latin Music World as Fret's Mother Breaks Silence
After meeting with San Juan's District Attorney, Ozuna's manager Vicente Saavedra says he is not a suspect in the crime.
The murder of Puerto Rican trap artist Kevin Fret is making headlines again thanks in part to two media appearances by Fret’s mother Hilda Rodriguez -- but the case remains an unsolved mystery.
On the April 15 broadcast of Puerto Rico’s Lo Sé Todo (I Know Everything) TV show, Rodriguez repeated allegations she first made on an internet radio show earlier in the month: that reggaeton and trap singer Ozuna and his manager Vicente Saavedra -- who are also Puerto Rican -- ordered the death of her son. But neither man has been named a suspect in the case.
Meanwhile, the investigation into Fret’s murder has entered its third month and the authorities have not charged anyone with the crime. “We are searching for two male persons of interest and are using every resource at our disposal to find these persons. We are also following up on several tips phoned in by anonymous citizens”, said Commander Mayda Ortiz, director of the Criminal Investigations Bureau’s (CIB) San Juan division. Ortiz added that every possible motive is being investigated.
On April 9, Saavedra was interviewed for more than three hours by the state prosecutor for the Puerto Rico Department of Justice assigned to the case, Betzaida Quiñones. Quiñones is also planning to interview veteran reggaeton and trap singer Arcángel, according to Lieutenant José Cruz Marrero, director of the San Juan CIB Homicide Division
Saavedra, president of the promotion and marketing agency Dímelo Vi, as well as Ozuna’s manager, spoke to the press following his meeting with Quiñones. He said that the prosecutor’s questions focused solely on the allegations that Fret -- who was shot to death on Jan. 10 while riding a scooter in San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood -- had extorted money from Ozuna over a pornographic video that the latter artist had appeared in when he was a minor. Saavedra said that he was not asked about Fret’s murder and that Quiñones informed him that he was not a person of interest in the case. During a January appearance on Lo Sé Todo, Quiñones said that she was not investigating Ozuna for Fret's murder.
Fret’s mother first accused Saavedra and Ozuna of ordering the killing of her 24-year-old son during an interview on Puerto Rican transsexual and gay rights activist Samantha Love’s internet radio show, Conexión Samantha Love (The Samantha Love Connection). During the emotional and sometimes confusing 80-minute audio interview, which posted to YouTube on April 4, Rodríguez also alleged that Fret, who billed himself as the first gay trap Latin singer, and Ozuna had engaged in an “intimate relationship” and that she had turned over text-message conversations between the two artists to law-enforcement officials.
“I know that it was him [Ozuna] who ordered my son to be killed, together with Vicente Saavedra,” Rodriguez told Love. “Ozuna carries this in his conscience.”
Rodriguez, who lives in Massachusetts, also denied that her son had engaged in extortion. She said that after Fret found a link to Ozuna’s pornographic video, “The only thing Kevin asked of him was to help him sing as a featured artist on a song.” According to Rodriguez, “Ozuna said, ‘No, I’m going to give you money and I want you to send me the link so that I can erase the video. But,” she added, “My son wasn’t the only person that had the video.” Rodriguez claimed that her son did not want Ozuna’s money and that he would never make the video public.
During her appearance on Lo Sé Todo, Rodriguez was asked if her son had accepted the $50,000 payment that Ozuna had allegedly made to Fret. “Of course,” she replied, then added: "Kevin took, I'd say, almost $400,000 that Ozuna gave him." Ozuna and his attorney Antonio Sagardía de Jesús have both said that a payment was made to Fret, but Sagardía put the amount at "close to $50,000." At press time, he had not responded to a request to comment on Rodriguez's latest statements.
On Jan. 23, almost two weeks after Fret’s death, a portion of the video in question, which depicted a teenaged Ozuna masturbating, was leaked to the internet and quickly went viral. That same day, the artist apologized to his family and fans via a prepared statement, which also said he had been the victim of an alleged extortion plot hatched by Fret.
On Love’s show, however, Rodriguez claimed that Fret’s relationship with Ozuna was not strictly adversarial. “My son told me everything he did -- both the good and the bad,” Rodriguez said, alleging that Fret and Ozuna had an “intimate relationship” that began “in a hotel located [at] an airport in Miami where Ozuna set up a meeting with my son to give him the first $50,000.”
Fret’s mother did not reveal the name of the hotel or the date when this meeting allegedly took place.
Although Saavedra told reporters on April 9 that Rodriguez’s accusations left him feeling under siege, he also said that, “As a father of three girls, I understand her desperation. I don’t want to imagine being in her position. She’s clamoring for justice and I respect that, which is why I’ve never taken legal action against this person. I want her to know that I understand her, that the same God she spoke about in the interview is the same God that I understand and respect.”
On April 8, Ozuna declined to comment on Rodriguez’s interview as well, telling Billboard, “Out of respect for him [Kevin Fret] and his family, I have nothing more to say.”
That same day, the CIB’s Cruz confirmed that veteran reggaeton and trap singer Arcángel will also be interviewed by Quiñones. A meeting had originally been scheduled for April 13 but had to be postponed because the singer had a concert scheduled for that date at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. Authorities have not announced, at this time, when the interview will take place.
José Ayala Gordián is a reporter for ENDI.com, the digital arm of Puerto Rico's largest circulation newspaper El Nuevo Día. He has worked for the paper's parent company GFR Media since 2004.