Paula Sladewski, 26, walked out of a Miami nightclub and into a nightmare on the morning of January 3rd, 2010. Family and friends would never again see her alive. Her body was found later that night, burning in a North Miami dumpster about 10 miles from the club. Burnt beyond recognition, dental records were required to reveal her identity. The identity of her murderer remains a mystery.
A Michigan native, Sladewski was an aspiring model who appeared in a 2003 Ultimate Playboy Search video. She more recently worked as an exotic dancer to pay the bills. Sladewski and her live-in boyfriend, Kevin Klym, 34, split their time between Michigan and Rancho Cucamonga, California. They were visiting Miami to celebrate the New Year's weekend beginning with a New Year's Eve Lady Gaga concert. They spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and visiting Miami's clubs and bars.
They spent the early morning hours of January 3rd at Club Space, a cavernous Miami hot spot featuring a laser show and different genres of music on every floor. The club is known for late-night dancing. It is said that the club doesn't really come alive until 3:00 a.m., with the terrace opening at 4:00 a.m. and the party extending until late in the morning. There is a running joke amongst those in the know about professionals in the "beautiful people" crowd who have gone from the club in the morning straight to work. The club can attract unsavory types as well.
Around 7:00 a.m., Klym was ejected from the club after arguing with Sladewski. Klym has told police the argument erupted when he told Sladewski they needed to leave because she'd had too much to drink. She wanted to stay at the club and party. After the argument began, a bouncer escorted Klym from the premises leaving Sladewski behind, alone and allegedly intoxicated.
Klym told police that he returned to the hotel and went to sleep. When he awoke, Sladewski had still not returned. He began a frantic search to find her. He filed a missing persons report on Sunday night, just about the time her body was discovered burning in the dumpster.
For the last week and a half, Klym has been under police scrutiny and labeled a person of interest. The police and media have focused on the couple's tumultuous relationship, which included a history of violence. A former boyfriend has come forward, claiming that Sladewski recently texted him, saying Klym was going to kill her. Klym, meanwhile, was due in a Michigan courtroom on January 5th on an aggravated assault charge stemming from a December 3rd, 2009, incident. The allegation: Klym punched Sladewski in the face, breaking her nose and fracturing her cheek. The Michigan court issued a warrant for Klym's arrest when he failed to appear; he was still in Miami, involved in and cooperating with the investigation into Sladewski's murder.
The police report filed in the December aggravated assault case mentions another domestic violence incident between the couple from just five days earlier. Even Sladewski's sister, who has publicly said she doesn't believe Klym is involved in the murder, admits the couple's relationship would often become violent when they were drinking.
But it might not be that simple. Surveillance footage from the club shows a woman who appears to be Sladewski leaving the club about 20 minutes after the bouncer ejected Klym. The video shows Sladewski accompanied by an unidentified black man; the couple is holding hands. Police have also verified parts of Klym's alibi. Klyms's story that he took a cab back to the hotel checked out, although nothing verifies the time he arrived. Perhaps most compelling, the couple did not rent a car while in Miami, seemingly making it impossible for Klym to transport a body any significant distance.
The mystery surrounding Paula Sladewski's brutal and sadistic murder has made the national news. Miami police have issued a warning stating that a brutal and sadistic murderer is on the loose. The only question is whether it is the devil who is known or another devil who took advantage of a vulnerable target. Only time will tell.
Statements in this post are my own and not intended to reflect the views opinion or position of the Michigan Attorney General or the Michigan Department of Attorney General.