The brother of an aspiring model whose charred body was found in a Miami trash bin said newly released surveillance video from the club where she was last seen shows that she was stalked before being abducted and murdered.
Thomas Bussell, brother of the slain woman, Paula Sladewski, told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Tuesday that that the grainy video from a Miami nightclub shows that other people saw Sladewski leave the club, and that two men were trailing her.
The 7-second video shows a woman with flowing blond hair and wearing a black miniskirt leaving Club Space in Miami on the morning of Jan. 3. Two men, said to be club bouncers, trail her.
That night, a burning body, later identified as Sladewski’s, was found in a trash bin about 12 miles away from the club.
‘Please come forward’
“I believe Paula was abducted. I believe she was stalked,” Bussell said from Michigan after watching the video. “I believe the video shows proof of that ... In the video, you can see people following her out.”
Bussell pleaded with anyone who saw Sladewski leave the club to provide information.
“If somebody did approach her, they saw it, they know what he looks like, they know what kind of car she got into. There’s a lot of information out there that’s yet to be disclosed to police,” he said. “If you have a sister, if you have a daughter, please come forward. Tell the police everything you know.”
Sladewski, 26, was an aspiring model who had appeared in a Playboy model-search video in 2003. While searching for modeling jobs, she worked as an exotic dancer, splitting her time between her native Garden City, Mich., and California.
Video: Police: Video could lead to break in model's murder case She and her boyfriend, Kevin Klym, 34, had flown to Miami to celebrate the new year, beginning their stay by attending a New Year’s Eve Lady Gaga concert. The early morning of Jan. 3 found them at Club Space.
Sometime around 7 a.m., Klym was kicked out of the club. He told police he got in a fight with Sladewski, with whom he had a volatile and sometimes violent relationship, and was escorted out. He also said that Sladewski was intoxicated.
Klym, who had Sladewski’s cell phone, said he left the club in a taxi and went back to his hotel room, which police have confirmed. When the day went by without Sladewski returning, he called her parents in Michigan and then police to report her missing.
The woman believed to be Sladewski is shown leaving the club about 15 or 20 minutes after Klym. Witnesses told police that she left with a man described only as being black. According to an NBC News report by Kerry Sanders, Miami police are working on a sketch of the man and expect to have it ready for release shortly.
Guilty — of cowardice
Bussell blamed Klym for leaving the club and not waiting for Sladewski outside.
Video: Model’s charred remains found in trash bin “He’s guilty of being a coward,” Bussell alleged. “My sister paid for his plane ticket down there. She paid for everything — the room, the meals they ate — and he was responsible for her; responsible for her safety, her well-being. He left her there without a cell phone. What kind of respect can you have for a man like that? He left my little sister there to fend for herself.
“Had he waited for her outside that club — it was only 20 minutes — 20 minutes could have saved her a lifetime,” Bussell added.
No one in Sladewski’s family has suggested Klym killed the woman, but they say the two had a troubled relationship during the two years they were together. Sladewski’s stepfather, Richard Watkins, has said that Klym gave her a broken nose during a fight. Klym claimed the injury was an accident.
‘She trusted everyone’
Bussell said he had met Klym only twice, but on one of those occasions — the wedding of his niece, Brittany Pyzik, who appeared with him on TODAY from Michigan — Klym and Sladewski fought.
Bussell described his sister as being too trusting.
“She trusted everybody; you tell her you loved her, and she believed it,” he told Vieira. “She was very young and naïve and she believed there was a lot of good in this world. I told her time and time again that there’s also evil, and that’s what she’s got to watch out for.”
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