Cuban National Arrested in Connection with Murder of NYC Art Dealer in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian police are investigating the connection between the estranged husband of Manhattan art dealer Brent Sikkema and the Cuban suspect arrested for Sikkema’s murder.

Sikkema, 75, was found dead in his Rio de Janeiro home from multiple stab wounds to his throat and face. Cuban national Alejandro Triana Prevez, 30, was arrested in connection with the homicide and was found with jewelry and over $36,000 in cash.

According to police, Sikkema’s estranged husband, also of Cuban origin, is a person of interest in the case. The couple was going through a “bitter” divorce and custody fight over their 12-year-old son.

Triana arrived in Brazil from Cuba in 2022 as a refugee and was found to have written a 92-page book titled “Gray Reflections on Love” in the same year. The book, which resembles a journal, includes reflections and suggestions on making the most out of life.

Police stated that surveillance footage shows Triana spending nearly 14 hours near Sikkema’s home before the murder. The suspect entered the home shortly before Sikkema’s body was found and left shortly after.

“We have no doubt that this was a premeditated crime,” said Rio police spokesman Alexandre Herdy. “What we don’t know is what was the motive for the crime, whether it was robbery or something else.”

Sikkema, who traveled to Rio from New York three times a year, was found by his Brazilian lawyer, who had keys to his home.

The investigation is ongoing, and police are working to establish a motive for the murder, as well as any connection between the suspect, the victim’s estranged husband, and the crime.