Be Aware Getting Into, And
Out Of, Your Car (12/23/07)
I am writing concerning the paper's tips for shopping safety published after the slayings at Town Center mall in Boca Raton.
The list was incomplete. Shoppers
not only must have their keys ready, but as soon as they get into the
car, they must lock the doors. The same goes with arriving at the mall.
A shopper is not always ready to exit his car upon arrival, and doors
should be locked until you are. Also, "alert" is too ambiguous.
A "bad guy" needs the element of surprise. You must walk with
your head up as if to say, "I see you." If a woman has issues
with direct eye contact with a stranger, she can look at his forehead
or chin. In addition, don't expect a "bad guy" to look like
the monster he is.
Dec 26, 2007 11:05 pm US/Eastern
It is a testament to their goodness, but on a bigger scale it's a testament to the goodness of a man who considered Nancy and Joey Bochiccio to be his friends. Now pizza serves a purpose.
"If we could do this with every store in town, that would be great," said Sky Mercede.
Mercede asked employees at Tony's pizza to send a message with their deliveries--a message that the murders of a mother and daughter remain unsolved.
"I just want to help," he said.
Like so many others, the murders of Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter Joey, outside the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton forced Sky Mercede to take a long look at his life. The inseparable duo was a friend to Mercede's family. Joey and Mercede's daughter were classmates.
"This is a mother I waved to every morning at school," said Mercede. "Joey and Nancy came to my daughter's birthday party less than a month ago."
So every day after work, Mercede drives to local businesses and asks them to put up a flyer and show it to their customers. Everyone he's asked offered their help.
"God forbid that was me or someone I know I would want someone to do that for me or my family," said Tony's Pizza owner Samantha Kinkel. "Hopefully we can catch the guy and bring some justice."
Justice is the goal of Mercede's handshakes and photocopies. It's a way to cope with a loss so devastating that it defies words.
"If they saw Joey and Nancy's picture, the guilt, if they know something, they're going to feel it right here and they're come forward and speak," said Mercede.
Merecede's message is being heard; he told CBS4 News that the Miami Dolphins agreed to show this flyer on the scoreboard at this Sunday's game.
If you know anything about the crime that may help police call Crimestoppers.
If you want to help Sky Mercede in his effort to blanket the area with these flyers can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
To view the news video: http://cbs4.com/local/Joey.Bochiccio.Murder.2.618436.html
Man Posts Flyers In Boca Mall Murder Case --
Tony's Pizza not only put up a flyer about the reward in the murder case of Nancy and Joey Bochiccio, the employees are making sure all of their customers know about this case.
Posted: Dec 28, 2007 10:56 AM
America's Most Wanted has generated hundreds of new leads for Boca police in the Town Center Mall murders, and several local businesses are hoping to help, as well.
Tony's Pizza in Boca is putting police flyers on all their pizza boxes. The flyers contain a sketch of the man believed to have murdered Nancy and Joey Bochicchio. The two were bound, shot to death and left in their SUV at the mall.
"If God forbid that ever happened to somebody in my family or to one of my children, I'd like somebody to do this for me and my family, so that's why we're trying to help out as much as we can," says Samantha Kinkel.
The Miami Dolphins will also display the sketch on their JumboTron during the game on Sunday.
The police chief told our partners at the Palm Beach Post his detectives are getting little sleep - making it a priority over their personal lives to solve this crime.
By KEVIN DEUTSCH
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 28, 2007
BOCA RATON — Detectives investigating the killings of Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter at Town Center mall have generated nearly 400 leads as they pore over details of past crimes at the mall and elsewhere to see if there are any links to the killer, Chief Dan Alexander said Thursday.
Many leads have been generated through tips, some of which streamed in from around the country after America's Most Wanted ran a segment on the double-homicide on Saturday. Investigators hope to hear from more tipsters when a sketch of the suspect is shown on two video display boards at the end of halftime during Sunday's game at Dolphin Stadium.
All tips have been assigned to investigators, and the department has followed up on about 75 percent of those leads, Alexander said. Detectives are still combing through surveillance video, canvassing the mall to speak with employees and shoppers and talking to other law enforcement agencies about whether similar crimes occurred in their jurisdictions.
The chief said his investigators have put their personal lives aside to focus on the double-homicide investigation.
"Our detectives are putting in countless hours, dealing with lack of sleep - and people have had to cancel leave, but we're driven," Alexander said. "This case has been a priority over our personal lives."
On Dec. 12, a gunman confronted Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser at the mall, forced the woman to take money from an ATM and bound and shot them. Their bodies were found in Bochicchio's SUV parked outside Sears early the next day.
The gunman secured Nancy Bochicchio at the neck with a plastic tie strip, binding her and pulling goggles over her face, a source said, though Boca Raton police have not confirmed those details.
Investigators believe the killer probably carried out an Aug. 7 kidnapping and robbery in a mall parking garage, during which a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son were abducted. The gunman forced the woman to withdraw $600 from an ATM, returned her to the mall and left her bound at the neck and wrists, a pair of goggles pulled over her eyes, with her son in her vehicle, a member of the victim's family said. Boca Raton police have not confirmed those details.
Both cases involved a mother and child held at gunpoint; both started at the Town Center; victims were bound in both robberies; and both women were forced to go to an ATM, Alexander said.
Investigators are reviewing other crimes in the city and elsewhere, looking to see if the same person or people struck before.
"We need to check anything that might be remotely related," Alexander said. "That's a fairly exhaustive process."
Boca Raton police have sent evidence from both crimes, including a "considerable amount" from the first case, to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office for processing, Alexander said.
The FBI's Behavioral Science Unit is profiling the Bochicchios' killer from Quantico, Va.
Reported by: Jamie Holmes
Photograhed by: Eric Pasquarelli
Forty-eight hours is the mystical window when most murders are solved.
It's been almost three weeks since Nancy and Joey Bochicchio were murdered, but the hope is still very much alive.
Investigators say an abundant amount of forensic evidence was left at the murder scene.
Police aren't saying what that is and whether it has any connection to the killer remains a mystery.
Much of it, including DNA, has been turned over to the sheriff's office labs for analysis.
"We have a lot of physical evidence. The question and the value of that evidence will be dependent on whether when we analyze it we get anything of value and then second, when we have something of value, whether we can compare it to a known suspect," says Boca Police Chief Dan Alexander.
Best case scenario, DNA evidence gives police a match to someone who already has had a criminal history. The forensic evidence could also tie this killer to other similar style crimes and reveal their methods.
But no forensic evidence was taken after a similar crime at Mizner Park earlier this year.
Forensic evidence was however collected at the scene of another similar style crime in August when a mother and her daughter were car-jacked outside the Town Center Mall.
While that case has been highly publicized, and the department criticized for failing to warn the public about the attacker, there has still been no forensic link definitively connecting those two cases.
"We've collected it already in both cases, and submitted that evidence to them for processing and we're waiting for some of that to come back," says the Chief.
Then there's also been rumors that there may even be another similar style Town Center Mall attack out there, which the department has not discussed publicly and which could give further insight into the killer's methods.
The Chief says he knows of no specific other crime, but says his officers are searching for similar cases all across the county.
"I think it's premature to say there aren't other similar cases. If you look at someone who commits robberies for example, more than likely, it's part of a string."
By Leon Fooksman |South Florida
Days after a woman told police in August that she and her son were abducted and robbed at Boca Raton's Town Center mall, she sat down with a forensic artist who drew a sketch of the attacker.
But the drawing was so vague that investigators found it almost worthless.
Four months later, when police suspected the same man had killed a woman, 47, and her daughter, 7, and left their bodies in an SUV at the same mall, an updated version of that composite represents hope of finding a murderer who has infected the holiday season with fear and unease.
"It's rather generic, but it's part of the investigation," said Officer Sandra Boonenberg, Boca Raton Police spokeswoman, who acknowledged the shortcomings of the picture but said it could produce a lead.
The sketch shows a man's face hidden behind Oakley sunglasses and under a hat. He has no visible marks or unusual characteristics. There's nothing "remarkable" about his face, a police official said.
Still, police distributed the image widely to law enforcement, news media and the public. Volunteers have handed out hundreds of reward fliers with the sketch at gas stations, convenience stores and supermarkets. The sketch was shown on the giant screen at Dolphin Stadium during Sunday's football game.
Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said he did not know if any useful tips have come from the composite. Police have received about 400 tips from detective leads and calls from the public, he said.
Sky Mercede — who knew the slaying victims, Nancy Bochicchio, and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, and organized the campaign to put up the fliers — said the sketch didn't jog any memories for people he handed the fliers to.
"It can be just about anyone, but maybe someone who knows something will come forward," said Mercede, of Parkland.
The mother and daughter were found tied up and shot in their black SUV just after midnight on Dec. 13 after they were forced to withdraw money from a bank, police said. Surveillance footage showed them walking in and out of the mall hours earlier.
A similar robbery occurred Aug. 7 at the mall. A woman, 30, told detectives a man held a gun to her and her son, 2, forced her to withdraw money from a bank ATM and tied her to her car seat.
That woman was the source of the information for the sketch of the December double-homicide suspect.
Hand-drawn composites have been a law enforcement tool for finding suspects and fugitives since the days of the Wild West. They are an imperfect process that links a victim's or a witness' limited visual capacity with an artist's perceptions, crime experts said.
In Florida, police sketch artists have become valuable in helping identify corpses since a state law, passed in the aftermath of race-car driver Dale Earnhardt's death, prohibited the release of morgue photos.
The accuracy of composites can have consequences for an investigation. An inexact image may lead detectives off course and produce bad arrests, experts said. A sketch of the Unabomber in a hood and sunglasses, for example, was considered a worthless depiction of Ted Kaczynski, who eluded law enforcement for years until his arrest in 1996.
Veteran forensic artist Stephen Fusco said composites are used with fingerprints, DNA samples and other evidence to build cases.
"It's just a tool to create a lead," said Fusco, a detective with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Sketches often begin with witnesses or victims flipping through books of facial components such as eyes, ears, noses, mouths and eyebrows, Fusco said. They pick features closely fitting a suspect's face. The artist draws a basic image with a pencil and revises it with help from the witness or victim. The picture can be enhanced on a computer.
Then, detectives decide whether they will release it to other officers and the public or hold it as a piece of evidence once an assailant is caught.
Artists aim to sit down with a witness or victim, ideally within a day or two of the crime, while their recollections are vivid. Time can blur memory of a suspect's face or make it more sinister, artists said.
"If a couple of months go by, the guy's face gets a more vicious look," said Fred Wartberg, a forensic artist with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
About four months passed between the time the 30-year-old mall victim was abducted and robbed in August and when she provided a final sketch to the artist.
She never saw the suspect's eyes, hair or ears, which were blocked by sunglasses and a hat, officials said. She was told to flip through magazines and surf on the Internet for pictures to jog her memory of the attacker's face.
In the end, she described a man who looked not much different from any other young man wearing glasses and a hat, investigators said.
Yet, in her traumatized mind, the composite was him, her family said.
Staff Researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
Leon Fooksman can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6647.