Two Rewards Offered In Case
December 15, 2007
Fred DeFalco, a Boca businessman, aims to raise $100,000 for a reward. Call 561-702-3757 for more information.
By Patty Pensa |South Florida
West Boca - Perhaps it was because Nancy Bochicchio had her only child late in life. Or maybe it was because she was a single mom that she built her life around Joey.
She clung to her daughter, brought her everywhere she went, spent so much time with her that their two personalities virtually blended into one. Joey, 7, was mild-mannered yet outgoing. She was mature beyond her years.
"Joey was Nancy. That was her mold," said Timmy McCurdy, a family friend. "They weren't even like mother and daughter. They were sisters."
Like always, the two were together last week at Town Center at Boca Raton when the unthinkable happened: They were tied up, shot and killed in Bochicchio's SUV parked outside Sears. The city of Boca Raton is offering $350,000 to solve the crime.
Police offered no new details Saturday, but friends and neighbors provided new insight into Bochicchio and Joey's devoted relationship.
McCurdy, an investor at Cafe D'Angelo, was set to dress up as Santa Claus for Joey's eighth birthday party Saturday. Joey, who was named for Bochicchio's father, would have turned 8 on Monday.
As she did every year, Bochicchio planned a perfect day for Joey. About 25 of the second-grader's friends were to attend, along with 25 adults. Instead, the only person to show up was the disc jockey, who hadn't heard the news.
Bochicchio, 47, came to Florida from New York and worked in finance. Bochicchio's mother lived with her and Joey in a two-story home west of Boca Raton until she died last year. The three were inseparable, with Bochicchio and her mother as close as Joey and Bochicchio were.
"She always wanted that kid," McCurdy said of Bochicchio's desire to have a child. McCurdy met the two when Joey was still in a baby carrier.
Everyone knew Joey at Cafe D'Angelo, where Bochicchio brought her daughter once or twice a week.
Considering Joey spent so much time with her mother and other adults, the little girl adopted a sophisticated taste for foods such as clams.
Bochicchio took her daughter to golf lessons and cheerleading. If Mom had a meeting for work, Joey was there, too. Bochicchio and her ex-husband, Phillip Hauser, were separated three years before they divorced in December 2006.
"Wherever Nancy went, so was Joey," McCurdy said.
The two went to bed by 8:30 p.m., though Bochicchio left the light on in the living room all night, a neighbor said. They woke early, around 6 a.m. so Bochicchio could get to work and Joey to school at St. Jude Catholic School west of Boca Raton.
At the 5 p.m. Mass Saturday, church leaders invoked their names, with Joey called a "beautiful angel," in sorrowful remembrance. The choir's Christmas concert will be dedicated to the pair.
Church officials did not have details about their funeral. The Rev. Richard Champigny spoke about the loss and its shattering effect on their community and the city during his homily.
"I imagine everyone knows of the tragedy, the brutal murder that has left our whole parish in shock," Champigny said. "Many tears have already been shed and there will be more shed."
Anger, fear, confusion and doubt are surely being felt, he said, but Bochicchio and Joey are "in the hands of the Lord."
"Their suffering has ended," he said. "They are in peace."
Their home Saturday night was still, though neighbors said people were coming in and out of their corner house for the first time. Bochicchio and Joey would often stay outside, gardening or walking their dog. John Maciel, who lives across the street, said it's hard to see the house so dark.
"She was a super mom," he said. "She was always caring for Joey, never yelling or shouting."
Three weeks ago, Maciel and Bochicchio spent two hours outside talking. She told him that Joey was the most important thing in her life and she never dated because she didn't think it would be safe for Joey to have a man in their house.
Police have been asking neighbors if anyone had been around Bochicchio and Joey's house recently, Maciel said.
"She would have told me if she was in danger," he said. "It is so sad. We are in shock and don't know what to think. To me, it's evil to think anyone would kill a child in a robbery."
Patty Pensa can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6609.
Last Update: 12/15 11:28 pm
Reporter: Marci Gonzalez
The young girl and her mother,
Nancy were found bound and shot to death inside their SUV outside the
Town Center Mall in Boca Raton early Thursday morning.
Mayor Steven Abrams explains, "They are tracking down a whole lot of leads and getting cooperation from other law enforcement agencies because these leads are taking them to different parts of the state."
Family and friends of the victims say police have asked them not to speak with the media. Off camera, one family friend shared touching stories about the loving mother and daughter. She says of 47-year-old single-mother, Nancy, "her life, her heart and her soul was Joey and her family."
The two were part of a tight-knit Italian family who lived in the same Boca Raton neighborhood. Nancy moved to South Florida from the Bronx, New York to pursue a career in stocks. Joey was a sweet and generous girl. The friend says the seven-year-old was growing her hair long to donate to 'Locks of Love,' an organization that makes wigs from human hair to donate to children going through chemotherapy.
Joey would have turned eight years old Monday. Her birthday party was going to be Saturday at Café D'Angelo.
The reward for information leading to an arrest is $350,000. Anyone with information can call Palm Beach County Crimestoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
By MICHAEL LaFORGIA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 16, 2007
BOCA RATON — Police have enlisted the help of the FBI's storied Behavioral Science Unit in the search for a killer who bound a woman and her 8-year-old daughter and shot them to death outside the Town Center mall on Wednesday.
The team of specialists, which
has been depicted in books, movies and TV shows, is one of several resources
investigators are drawing on.
Since then, police have teamed with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI to riddle over what sort of person could hold a gun to a little girl and pull the trigger, and, more importantly, how to track him down.
The Behavioral Science Unit is best known for its work investigating serial killers, and has provided analysis in the cases against the Unabomber and the BTK killer of Wichita, Kan.
However, authorities say, the team more often helps develop leads and interview techniques in less sensational cases.
The unit's involvement in this case shouldn't lead observers to jump to conclusions, said Agent Judy Orihuela, an FBI spokeswoman.
"They use the unit for many, many things," Orihuela said.
During the past three days, investigators collected details about the crime and sent it to Quantico, Va., where the special unit is building a profile of the killer.
Although he wouldn't talk specifically about the Behavioral Science Unit's efforts, Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said Saturday that investigators are using every tool at their disposal to find the killer.
"The public needs to know that we will leave no stone unturned," Alexander said.
One aspect of the investigation has been an Aug. 7 carjacking and kidnapping that bore unsettling similarities to the attack Wednesday. In the earlier crime, a man ambushed a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son at the parking garage near the Nordstrom store at the Town Center mall, bound the pair and held a gun to the toddler's head. He forced the woman to withdraw money from an ATM before returning them to the mall.
He left them unharmed.
Since the slayings Wednesday, investigators re-interviewed the earlier victim and, based on her recollections, drafted a composite sketch of the gunman on Thursday.
City officials have offered an unprecedented $350,000 reward for information leading to the man who killed Bochicchio, a single mom and businesswoman, and her daughter, a sunny little girl with a gap-toothed grin, who would have celebrated her ninth birthday on Saturday.
As news of the killings spread, the people of this normally serene city reacted with a mixture of dread and anger.
Why, some asked, did it take authorities so long to discover the bodies in the SUV? And why did police wait more than 16 hours before announcing that a killing had occurred and that the victims were a woman and a little girl?
Alexander said investigators themselves were still working out how the bodies could have gone undiscovered - the killings probably occurred Wednesday afternoon or early evening - despite remaining in plain sight near the Sears loading dock for several hours.
"We need to establish a timeline to get a better feel of how things occurred," Alexander said.
As for his agency's concern for people's safety, and the timeliness of releasing information, the chief said: "We're cops. We got in the business to look out for people.
"As much as we can put out in the interest of public safety, I want to put it out there."
However, the need to inform people must be balanced against the need to protect the integrity of the investigation, he said. Detectives are making progress, he said.
As investigators gather information, police say they are patrolling the area around the Town Center mall more often.
"We have a significant presence out there," Alexander said. "We always do."
Still, some shoppers felt uneasy Saturday.
Before the sun went down, Penny Silverman of Boca Raton stood with her 9-year-old daughter in the mall parking lot, not far from where the Bochicchios were found.
"I couldn't stop thinking about it for two days," she said before getting into her car. "The thought of what could have gone through their minds ..."
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 17, 2007
BOCA RATON - Flowers, teddy bears, balloons and cards took over the Hidden Lake front yard, where so many times toys were left behind. Laughter used to be heard at this Buttonwood Lake Drive home all the time.
But on Sunday night there were only sobs. Then came a birthday song for a girl who couldn't blow out candles or make a wish.
Standing a couple of feet from the white door Joey Bochicchio-Hauser and her mother used to come through to walk their dog were close to 100 people holding a candlelight vigil. Her mother, Nancy Bochicchio, was 47. Joey would have turned 9 on Sunday.
"She was so happy and always smiling. She wasn't a mean girl. Just bubbly," said Lisa Marie Lepore, 14, who attended St. Jude Catholic School, as Joey did.
"She was the best kid in the world," said a close friend of the family who didn't want to give her name.
That source of laughter the relatives and neighbors used to know was lost Wednesday when Nancy Bochicchio and Joey were tied up and shot to death outside Sears at the Town Center mall.
Their bodies were found in a 2007 Chevrolet SUV on Thursday, when a security guard patrolling the shopping center at 6000 W. Glades Road noticed the car's engine running. Money had been taken, according to police, who are investigating whether the case is linked to a robbery at the mall in August.
Since the discovery, Boca Raton police have teamed with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI's Behavioral Science Unit to search for the killer.
Relatives arrived at the house around 7 p.m. but didn't speak to the mass of people hugging their children, consoling one another in the yard and guarding candles from the wind.
"The city is heartbroken," the Rev. Perry Comas, from Christ the Rock International Church, told the mourners. "The family is unbelievably broken.
"If you are angry, be angry. If you are fearful, be fearful. If you want to get on your knees, get on your knees. If you feel like crying, let the tear roll," Comas said.
"This has left a mark," said Phuong Le, who lives a couple of doors from Bochicchio's home. He was at work when he heard the news. "It was shocking. I couldn't believe it," Le said.
Standing by his side Sunday night was his 10-year-old girl, Cindy, crying. "I would let my dog play with her dog," she said of Joey.
No details on the funeral services were available.
By Rachael Joyner | South Florida
WEST BOCA - The murders of a mother and child hung over Mass on Sunday at St. Jude Catholic Church, along with a priest's question:
"Why, God? Why?"
Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter Joey, 7, were found tied up and shot in Bochicchio's idling SUV in the Sears parking lot at the Town Center mall about midnight Wednesday.
Sunday, their deaths overshadowed what should have been a joyous holiday Mass, in a church decorated for Christmas. Some parishioners choked back tears or found it too hard to speak about the single mother and the second-grader from the parish school.
"Jesus doesn't do what we expect. He does what God expects," the Rev. Michael Driscoll said during his homily at the 9 a.m. service. "We often feel this when there is a loss of life like we experienced this week. We ask: Why, God? Why? ...
"But we eventually have to accept it. Sometimes things happen and we don't understand why."
Next door, a pile of cards, teddy bears, candles and flowers sat in front of St. Jude Catholic School. One card - a piece of yellow construction paper folded in half - read: "Happy Birthday Joey. We miss you!"
Joey would have celebrated her 8th birthday today.
Boca Raton is offering $350,000 to solve the crime, but Sunday there were still many questions left unanswered. Police are working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. marshals, the FBI and the Palm Beach County and Broward sheriffs' offices. Still, by Sunday, the killer or killers remained at large, with only a sketch and a rough description of a possible suspect made available to the public.
"It's been helpful for us to be together, especially for the children. It gives them a sense of security," said Shannon Lucas, 37, who was Joey's kindergarten teacher. "The hard thing is that we have such little information about the whole thing."
Many parishioners knew Joey and her mother. Most were too emotional to say much, but those who did shared fond memories of a pair who seemed inseparable and a child who brought joy to everyone she met. "She was sort of the vivacious child that everyone knew," said Barbara Batchelder, who knew Joey and her mother from school.
After nightfall, about 150 friends and neighbors gathered outside the Bochicchio's house west of Boca Raton for a candlelight vigil. They crowded in close to a makeshift memorial of Christmas wreaths, poinsettias and a picture of the mother and her daughter. Soft sobs and sniffles filled the cool air as the Rev. Perry Comas, a family friend, spoke. "Right now, there are so many questions and so many parts of the heart that are broken," he said.
After he finished, mourners clutched their candles and said goodbye. They sang Happy Birthday to Joey.
Rachael Joyner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 561-243-6645.
By KEVIN DEUTSCH
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
BOCA RATON - The man wanted for questioning in Wednesday's double homicide at the Town Center mall is likely the same armed robber who blindfolded, tied up and handcuffed another woman when he abducted her from the same mall in August, according to police and a report of that incident.
Investigators believe the perpetrator of the Aug. 7 carjacking and kidnapping of a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son at gunpoint in a mall parking garage is probably the same man who bound and shot Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her 7-year-old daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, late Wednesday afternoon or evening.
Boca Raton police would say only that Bochicchio and her daughter had been bound and shot. A source familiar with the investigation said that something was bound around Nancy Bochicchio's neck. Boca Raton police would neither confirm nor deny that detail.
In the Aug. 7 attack, the 30-year-old victim, who had been shopping with her son, survived with cuts and bruises after the man forced her to withdraw $600 from an ATM and brought her back to the mall.
At least one of the victims in the Aug. 7 abduction was taped or tied up, forced into a vehicle, and tied to an object, according to the incident report.
Forensic evidence from the Aug. 7 carjacking is similar to evidence found following the slayings last week, police said.
Investigators believe the killer probably was involved in other crimes as well.
"Chances are he's hit other areas," said Boca Raton police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Kelly. "He didn't just wake up one day and say, 'I'm going to go to Boca.''"
Police don't know whether the man has killed before but are comparing notes with other law agencies throughout the state to see whether he might have been involved in any of their cases.
The Aug. 7 crime in a mall parking lot was classified as a carjacking, armed robbery and abduction carried out by someone carrying a dark-colored handgun, according to the incident report drafted by the first officer at the scene.
An unknown man held the woman and her son at gunpoint in the Nordstrom parking garage about 6:30 p.m. The robber held a gun to the toddler's head and made the woman withdraw $600 from a bank before taking her back to the parking garage, according to a relative of the boy.
A composite sketch police released Friday was based on the woman's description of the carjacker in the Aug. 7 robbery and kidnapping.
Reached by phone Monday, the victim said she had no comment.
"I think everything's pretty much out there," she said.
Nancy Bochicchio and the adult victim of the Aug. 7 carjacking were both on Town Center property; both had young children with them; both women were bound. Bochicchio was found dead in her 2007 black Chrysler Aspen SUV. Although police could not say Monday what type of vehicle the Aug. 7 victim was driving, she has two SUVs, a 2004 Hummer and a 2006 Lincoln Navigator, registered to her address.
On Monday, police continued interviewing Town Center employees and Nancy Bochicchio's friends and neighbors. A male friend of hers said that Boca Raton police questioned, fingerprinted and took a saliva sample from him and questioned his family.
Bochicchio's SUV is being investigated meticulously by police swabbing for DNA evidence, fingerprints and other evidence. Police are reviewing mall security video as well as video from areas beyond the mall.
Investigators also are comparing notes with local agencies on other crimes, including the March 23 killing of Randi Gorenberg, who was last seen alive on surveillance footage leaving the Town Center mall carrying shopping bags and holding a cellphone to her ear. She was fatally shot in the head, dumped from her 2007 black Mercedes SUV and found about 5 miles from the mall.
Just after midnight Wednesday, a security guard patrolling the shopping center at 6000 West Glades Road found the Bochicchios bound and shot to death at point-blank range. Their bodies were in the SUV, which apparently had idled unnoticed in a parking lot for hours after the crime.
Police have enlisted the help of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit in the search for a killer. The team of specialists, which has been depicted in books, movies and TV shows, is one of several resources investigators are drawing on.
Police have teamed with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI to try to determine what sort of person could hold a gun to a little girl and pull the trigger, and how to track him down.
Police handed out fliers on Monday at local businesses, announcing a $350,000 reward for information leading to the killer. Tipsters are asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-8477.
By Leon Fooksman and Luis F. Perez | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
December 18, 2007
Boca Raton police are turning to modern and old-school methods in their hunt for whoever tied up and fatally shot a mother and daughter found at the Town Center mall last week.
Detectives are looking at patterns of robberies across South Florida, poring over videos from surveillance cameras, evaluating dozens of tips from residents, and examining fingerprints and material with DNA found at the crime scene, Police Chief Dan Alexander said Monday.
"We're examining everything," Alexander said.
security officer discovered Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey, 7, in their idling SUV in the Sears parking lot about midnight on Wednesday. Police said they were likely robbed but have not said exactly what was taken from them or their Chrysler Aspen.
More than a dozen detectives and officers from the Boca Raton Police Department are working with investigators from the Palm Beach County and Broward sheriff's offices, FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and other agencies for clues on who committed the killings and if the person or persons were responsible for more attacks.
Police suspect the slayings could be connected to a carjacking on Aug. 7 in the parking garage at Nordstrom department store at Town Center in which a 30-year-old shopper and her 2-year-old son were abducted as she was putting her bags in the car. A man appeared with a gun and shoved it to the boy's head, his grandfather said. The woman was then tied up.
Detectives are also looking at other recent robberies in Boca Raton, including at least one at Mizner Park since August, officials said.
"The police chief and his staff are working tirelessly to bring the perpetrator(s) of this atrocious crime to justice," Mayor Steven Abrams said in a statement.
For Alexander, the slayings are the most prominent case he has overseen since becoming chief in July 2006. He said he spent the first days after the shootings away from the media as he updated his bosses at City Hall, met with business leaders at the mall, and talked to other community officials.
As opposed to police chiefs who step in front of television cameras right after major crimes, Alexander said he concentrated on other priorities and let his public information officers release key facts to reporters.
"Early on, it's important to minimize the personalities and maximize the process," Alexander said.
Law enforcement experts said one of a police chief's main roles in a high-profile crime is to approve enough officers, detectives and crime scene technicians for the case, as well as providing money for equipment, forensic testing and overtime.
Getting out in front of the news media should not be a chief's primary responsibility, as long as someone from the department keeps the public alert, said Samuel Walker, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who has done research on police accountability.
"A chief's job is to be a leader but that could take on many forms," Walker said.
Chiefs sometimes rush in front of TV crews if they are seeking office or trying to get recognition, said Edward Mamet, a former New York Police Department captain who specializes in law enforcement matters as president of ECJM Consultants.
"It's a judgment call on when you go out to the media," Mamet said. "There's nothing wrong with public relations people doing the work."
Police are asking anyone with information on the mall slayings and the August robbery to call 561-338-1352 or Crime Stoppers, 800-458-8477.
Leon Fooksman can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6647.
Reporter: Marci Gonzalez
Leads keep coming in to the Boca Raton Police Department in the case of a mother and daughter found murdered in a mall parking lot. But, police won't say they're confident the case will be solved. The police chief says it would be unwise to declare with conviction that this killer will be caught. All he can say is that detectives are working tirelessly.
Police Chief Dan Alexander explains, "I think what people want to know is that we're working this case day and night and we literally are working it day and night. They want to know that we are leaving no stone unturned and that's what we're doing."
Alexander says police have received a great number of leads that have brought this investigation to other parts of the state and country. He won't specifically say where investigators are looking or what led them to search beyond South Florida. But he does say surveillance tapes from the mall and other areas the night Joey Bochicchio-Hauser and her mother, Nancy were murdered are still being analyzed.
He explains forensics and information from tipsters are moving the investigation forward. He tells NewsChannel 5, in addition to having every detective in the department on this case, they're also getting help from the FBI, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, and other agencies. Alexander explains, this case is personal, and solving it is a priority.
The Police Chief adds, "It's great to talk about technology and detective work and that type of thing but it touches all of us in a personal way and that's a good bit of what drives us as police officers to resolve this case." Police are still searching for a white or Hispanic male, 5'10"-6' tall, medium build, between 18 and 25 years old , possibly with a ponytail. Police call him a 'person of interest' in the Bochicchio's deaths as well as another violent carjacking that occurred in August.
The reward for information leading to an arrest is $350,000 dollars.
Police said they want to talk to David Goodman, 40, and another man known as Charles. Both are known to frequent the Miami area, police said.
Goodman and Charles may have information regarding this case, police said. Also, Charles may have access to one of the victim's cellular telephone, police said.
A security officer discovered Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey, 7, in their idling SUV in the Sears parking lot about midnight on Wednesday. Police said they were likely robbed but have not said exactly what was taken from them or their Chrysler Aspen.
Goodman is 5-feet-9-inches tall, police said. His weight is not known. There was no description given of Charles.
Police warn not to come in contact with the men.
Instead, anyone with information should call detectives at the Boca Raton Police Services Department at 561-338-1352.