Chelsea art gallerist Brent Sikkema, seen here with Kara Walker, one of his high-profile artists, was murdered in Brazil last month.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
The suspect in the brutal killing of Brent Sikkema told Brazilian police that the Manhattan art dealer’s estranged husband ordered the hit and offered him $200,000 to finish the job, according to Brazilian press reports.
Alejandro Triana Prevez, 30, told authorities that Daniel Carrera Sikkema, 53, ordered the January killing of Brent Sikkema, 75. The gallerist, whose Chelsea firm represents artists Vik Muniz and Kara Walker, among others, was found dead in the tony Rio. de Janeiro home on Jan. 15 with 18 stab wounds to the face, chest and throat, according to police.
The statement alleging Carrera’s involvement was first reported Thursday by Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, which also reported that Rio’s Public Ministry has requested that Carrera, who lives in Manhattan with the couple’s 14-year-old son, to be detained immediately.
Carrera was born in Cuba and worked as a male prostitute in Havana and Madrid before his marriage to Sikkema 15 years ago, according to a memoir he wrote in the late 1990s about his escape from the communist island.
The couple had been involved in a protracted divorce battle that began in March 2022 and was ongoing when Sikkema died, court records show. According to Rio police, Carrera allegedly demanded $6 million to allow Sikkema to see the couple’s son.
Shortly after Carrera filed for divorce in March 2022, he called the police claiming that Sikkema had changed the locks on the door of their Chelsea apartment after a heated argument. “When the victim questioned the building’s management, they told him they had orders not to let the victim back into the residence,” according to a report.
Sikkema surrendered to the police on April 14. He was arrested and spent a night in jail, according to a source who did not want to be identified.
“Danny just stalked the police officer, worked with him emotionally to arrest Brent,” said the source, who knew the couple. “The whole thing was ridiculous and the district attorney ended up apologizing to Brent.”
According to Triana, a Cuban national who said he had worked for Carrera and Sikkema in Cuba, Carrera sent him a key to enter Sikkema’s house in Rio, Brazilian press reported. Rio police released video footage from a nearby property that they say shows Triana watching over Sikkema’s residence in the city’s Botanical Gardens neighborhood for 14 hours before the killing before breaking into the house.
Rio’s Homicide Bureau told reporters they had “no doubt” the crime was premeditated. In addition to monitoring the victim, the suspect left the air conditioner on “to draw less attention” to the neighborhood during the attack, they said.
Sikkema’s remains were found by his longtime lawyer in Rio, a day before he was scheduled to return to Rio de Janeiro.
Days before he was killed, Sikkema was locked in another property in Rio de Janeiro. The gallerist owned three properties in Cuba and two in Rio, where he spent several weeks a year.
On the Thursday before his death, he was shopping for furniture and curtains for his new apartment and told his driver he had fallen in love with a new girlfriend, according to a Rio Civil Police report obtained by The Post last week.
“In the passenger seat of the car, Brent spoke on a video chat with a man who spoke English while stopping,” said the report, which summarizes the witness statement of Luiz Otavio Martins, Sikkema’s longtime Rio driver. . “The driver could see the young man on the phone. He was dark-skinned and very handsome, and Brent said ‘I love you’ to him in English.”
During what would be his last conversation with Martins, Brent told his driver he was going on a date, the report said, adding that Brent regularly frequented Rio’s bathhouses to pick up young male prostitutes.
“He preferred the young ones,” the Rio police report quoted the driver as saying.
“The driver told Brent not to bring prostitutes to his apartment because it was too dangerous,” the police report said. “Brent told the driver that he had met a guy before Christmas and was madly in love.”