The Versace Mansion became a crime scene early Wednesday when a housekeeper found two men dead in one of its hotel rooms. The Miami Beach hotel, now called the Villa Casa Casuarina Hotel, was once the home of famed Italian fashion designer, Gianni Versace, before his assassination in 1997.
According to police, two men were found dead at the beachfront hotel during routine cleaning. A housekeeper for the luxury $1,200-per-night Villa Casa Casuarina Hotel on Ocean Drive spotted the victims before swiftly calling 911 at around 1:20 p.m. Police and fire services arrived on the scene, confirming the tragic discovery in one of the hotel rooms.
The two men, who have not yet been identified, were pronounced dead by Miami Beach Fire Rescue responders, though no additional information regarding their cause of death has been released. By Thursday morning, police did not release the names or ages of the two victims.
In a tweet by the Miami Beach Police, investigators explained that authorities “responded to 1116 Ocean Drive after receiving a call from housekeeping advising of two deceased males.” The police confirmed that “the scene is contained to the hotel room and detective have launched a death investigation.”
The murder came one day before the 24th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death, which occurred on July 15, 1997, by a male prostitute-turned-serial killer, Andrew Cunanan. The assassination occurred just outside the Versace Mansion, which the Italian fashion designer purchased for $2.95 million in 1992. Cunanan, a 27-year-old who had murdered four other just days before, killed Versace on the front steps of his mansion, having shot him twice in the back of the head.
After 24 years, police are still unaware of a definitive motive. It was learned that Cunanan was a known Versace mega-fan and had gone crazy weeks earlier, having gone on a cross-country killing, murdering four individuals around the country. After the killing spree, Cunanan committed suicide eight days after murdering Versace.
The assassination was mourned around the world and led to a massive, nationwide manhunt for Cunanan, who was known for his ability to change appearance in every picture taken of him. Police found it difficult to track the assassin down, but eventually located the murderer just 40 blocks away from the Versace Mansion.
Cunanan had broken into a two-story houseboat, but when authorities arrived on July 23, they found Cunanan dead from a self-inflicted bullet wound. The serial killer used the same gun that took the lives of two of his victims, including Versace’s, to end his own life.
The Versace Mansion was sold and resold after its owner’s passing. The South Beach mansion, which Versace famously renovated for more than $33 million, was recently sold for $41.5 million to the mortgage holder, VM South Beach, by Fisher Auction.
Before that, Peter Loftin bought the property for $19 million in 2000, when he purchased the deed from Versace’s next of kin. The current owners, who bought the property at a steal (it was originally listed at $125 million before dropping to the $41.5 million sale price) were hoping to use the Versace name, but have since converted the property into a boutique hotel named the Casa Casuarina.
The property contains a mosaic-tiled pool lined with 24-karat gold, as well as an elaborate courtyard for weddings. The former Versace Mansion also has 10 bedrooms and 11 baths, which are rented out to high-end clients. Celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian have stayed in the boutique hotel, and the property was featured in an episode of Marrying Millions.
Celebrities have paid as much as $50,000 to stay in the premier beachside venue. Justin Bieber spent that crazy total in 2018 during a two-night stay.