LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — It was the morning of August 10, 2011, when a Lincoln Woods park ranger noticed a car parked just outside the Twin River Road entrance. The car had been parked there for hours in the sun with its windshield wipers on.
The ranger called the nearby State Police barracks to report the odd sight. When troopers arrived they saw blood on the bumper and opened the trunk to make a grisly discovery: the body of 25-year-old Ronny Almonte. The young father had been shot to death.
Almonte’s death shattered the worlds of his sisters and mother, who live in New York.
“Never in my life would I think that anything would happen to him,” Isabel Robles, Almonte’s sister told 12 News.
While Almonte was the youngest of five, to his sisters he was their protector.
“It was really hard,” Robles said. “All the way when we were driving [to Rhode Island], all I can think of was how? Why? Why would anybody do anything to him? We were wordless. There is nothing you can compare to that.”
Almonte’s family believes he was killed over missing drug money, though his sisters and mother said he never had involvement in criminal activity.
Instead they think an acquaintance blamed him for the stolen cash, which put a target on his back.
“He did have friends and associates that may have been known to law enforcement and it’s believed those persons could have contributed to his death,” State Police Detective Robert Hopkins said.
Hopkins wouldn’t say if there’s any DNA evidence that still needs to be tested in the case, or if the murder weapon was ever found.
Close to 10 years later, Hopkins said the Major Crimes Unit continues to actively investigate Almonte’s death.
“This is one that we would like someone to come forward and provide us with information,” he said. “But if not, we’ll use what we have to ultimately put it together.”
Almonte’s mother wears her son’s photo on a pendant around her neck, hoping whoever knows the truth about his death finds it in their heart to come forward.
“She just wants justice,” Robles said, interpreting her mother’s word from Spanish. “She wants them to be able to find them and make them pay for what they did.”
To bring in more leads, Almonte was added to a deck of cold case playing cards. Each card highlights an unsolved homicide or missing person case in Rhode Island. Almonte is the three of Diamonds.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.