MURDER VICTIM'S SON PLEADS
IN DRUG CASE (2/16/08)
MURDER VICTIM'S SON PLEADS IN
DRUG CASE - DANIEL GORENBERG SENTENCED TO DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM, 3
Daniel Gorenberg, 25, suffered from a drug addiction that spiraled out of control and was exacerbated by his mother's murder, said his attorney Guy Fronstin. During the hearing, Fronstin told Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown that Gorenberg was one of the people investigated in his mother's death.
"It turned his life upside down," Fronstin said. "His whole life literally collapsed."
Gorenberg was sentenced to three years of drug offender probation and is required to enroll in a residential drug treatment program in Ocala that can take up to two years to complete. Brown withheld adjudication on the charges, meaning Gorenberg will not have a felony on his record if he successfully completes his probation.
Randi Gorenberg , 52, was shot to death and dumped on a road west of Delray Beach on March 23. A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokesman declined to comment Friday on whether Gorenberg was ever considered a suspect, but a search warrant filed shortly after the death indicates Gorenberg's behavior piqued the interest of detectives.
Gorenberg was observed pacing in his parent's driveway and getting paper towels and a spray bottle out of the trunk of his car.
He later claimed to investigators that he had been working at a jewelry store at the time of the homicide, but the store had no record of him working there, according to the search warrant.
And when detectives asked Gorenberg for the clothes he was wearing on the day of his mother's death, he turned over only some of the attire he had been observed wearing, according to the warrant.
Fronstin said Gorenberg is looking forward to getting better and already feels "empowered" and excited to move on with his life.
Brown told Gorenberg that he can avoid the felony conviction if he is successful with his treatment and probation, which should be a "motivator to succeed."
Nancy Othón can be reached at email@example.com or 561-228-5502.
SLAIN MOM'S SON PLEADS GUILTY
TO DRUG CHARGES
Daniel Gorenberg, son of Randi Gorenberg , who was brutally slain in March, agreed to serve three years on intensive drug-offender probation as part of his plea deal. Gorenberg was charged in three separate cases after attempting to get anti-anxiety and pain pills from pharmacies without a valid prescription about five months after his mother's death.
Gorenberg's attorney, Guy Fronstin, told a judge that Gorenberg was investigated as a person of interest in his mother's death, which exacerbated his anxiety. Gorenberg had nothing to do with the murder, the attorney said, and has since lost his job and his home, and has plummeted into deep depression.
After his third arrest on the charge, Gorenberg recognized he needed help and chose not to bond out of jail, Fronstin said.
Gorenberg's guilty plea was to felonies, but the convictions won't be placed in his record if he successfully completes treatment.
It is a great day for him, Fronstin said after the hearing. He will get help at a rehab program in Ocala, have no arrest record and move on with his life.
"I think now he can finally mourn the loss of his mother," the attorney said.
BOCA RATON: Odd twist in mall
murders - An unfamiliar ring on the finger of a murdered mall-goer is
the latest quirk in the unsolved killings outside a Boca shopping complex.
Together, these bits of seemingly random evidence from an unsolved Palm Beach County murder from last March could potentially lead investigators to the man who bound, robbed and killed a mother and her daughter in December.
America's Most Wanted host John Walsh, who has profiled the cases extensively on his show, believes the person who killed Randi Gorenberg and the man who shot Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter Joey in December are one and the same.
Police are not ready to say that definitively, but detectives acknowledge the similarities are too great to ignore.
"It's a fascinating mystery," said Paul Miller, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Friday, a task force made up of detectives from PBSO and Boca Raton police made public new details of the killing of Gorenberg on March 23 of last year.
Like the Bochicchios, Gorenberg was abducted during the day after leaving the Town Center at Boca Raton. In both case cases, the victims were carjacked in their dark-colored SUVs.
The killer shot Gorenberg, who was alone, and left her to die on the side of the road not far from the mall.
Gorenberg had just bought a John Legend CD, which authorities found inside her Mercedes SUV stereo -- the car that the killer later dumped behind a nearby Home Depot.
The CD's case, Gorenberg's sneakers and her purse were missing when authorities discovered the SUV less than an hour later.
She was wearing a piece of costume jewelry that has friends and family scratching their heads. An interlocking ring was found on her finger that people close to her had not seen before -- raising the eerie possibility that the killer may have slipped it on her before shooting her, Miller said.
Police are also intrigued by a white Chrysler 300 spotted on surveillance video following what appears to be Gorenberg's SUV behind the Home Depot. It is possible the driver of that vehicle helped the killer escape.
Nine months later, Gorenberg's killer was still at large when the Bochicchios were murdered.
Authorities Thursday released a new composite sketch of the man they believe bound and shot the mother and daughter and left them in the Boca Raton Town Center Mall parking lot last year.
The victims were found dead in their black 2007 Chrysler Aspen, which was still running, in the parking lot's south side.
Police believe the Bochicchios were abducted sometime after 3 p.m. shortly after they exited the mall near Sears and Neiman Marcus.
The assailant, who bound them with duct tape, plastic ties, handcuffs and goggles, forced them to drive him to an ATM and take $500 from their account.
A 911 call was placed by Bochicchio's cellphone, but was disconnected before she could talk to dispatchers.
It is unknown where the two were killed, but a mall security guard noticed their SUV idling shortly before midnight. He called police, who found the Bochicchios bound and shot.
Friday, police released footage of the Bochicchios walking through the mall the day they were killed and video of their SUV pulling up to and leaving a bank where it is believed they were ordered to take out money by the killer.
The suspect is described as close to six feet tall, with a medium build and between 18 and 25 years old. It is believed that he has a ponytail. A reward of up to $350,000 has been offered for his arrest.
Authorities believe the Bochicchios' killer also abducted and bound a woman and her 2-year-old son outside the same mall on Aug. 7.
The family was able to escape, and provided police with a description that led to the composite sketch.
Detectives also are looking at a robbery that occurred at Mizner Park on Aug. 10, "but there are more dissimilarities than similarities," said Officer Sandra Boonenberg, a spokeswoman for Boca Raton police.
Police ask anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS.
By Leon Fooksman | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Another family member of Randi Gorenberg, the woman mysteriously slain last year after she left Town Center mall in Boca Raton, has been arrested.
Her husband, Stewart Gorenberg, 53, was taken into custody Wednesday at his Fort Lauderdale chiropractor office on two insurance fraud charges. He was released the same day from Broward County Jail after posting a $2,000 bail. His practice is accused by the Florida Department of Financial Services of billing private insurance twice for patients who weren't seen on the days they were billed for, said Guy Fronstin, Gorenberg's attorney.
Gorenberg's arrest comes less than a month after his son pleaded guilty to illegally trying to buy prescription drugs. Daniel Gorenberg, 25, was sentenced to three years of drug offender probation and is required to enroll in a residential drug treatment program in Ocala that can take up to two years to complete. He suffered from a drug addiction that was exacerbated by his mother's murder, Fronstin said.
Randi Gorenberg, 52, was shot to death on March 23 and dumped on a road behind a civic center west of Delray Beach. Investigators are looking at whether her killing is related to the Dec. 12 murders of Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey, who were found at the Town Center mall, and the Aug. 7 abduction and robbery of a woman and her son at the mall.
Stewart and Daniel Gorenberg were not suspects in Randi Gorenberg's murder, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office investigators have said. But the same detectives have added that the father and son were unwilling to answer many questions in the early days of the investigation.
Fronstin said they talked to detectives three times within a week of the slaying. Daniel Gorenberg also spoke to investigators in November and Stewart Gorenberg talked to them three or four times in recent months, Fronstin said.
Stewart Gorenberg will fight insurance fraud charges, Fronstin said. His practice has paperwork showing the two patients were treated on the same days and the billing was done properly.
The charges against Stewart Gorenberg come as the murders tied to Town Center mall have gained renewed local and national prominence.
In January, Boca Raton police and the Sheriff's Office created a joint task force to investigate leads and work on the cases. Last month, the TV show America's Most Wanted came to the Boca Raton area to produce a segment on the Gorenberg and Bochicchio murders and the August crime at the Town Center.
America's Most Wanted host John Walsh said he believed a serial killer was responsible, but authorities have stopped short of making the same statement.
Leon Fooksman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By MICHAEL LaFORGIA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The past year has been cruel to Randi Gorenberg's family.
Her husband, having taken up with another woman, isn't speaking with her mother or brother. Her son, who gave himself over to drug addiction, just left county jail for a mandatory treatment center. Her daughter, set to graduate from college in May, is about to start her life in a city far away, without the benefit of a mother's guidance. Her mother feels like a walking shadow, forced to play mother, father and grandmother to her dead daughter's two children when all she wants is to cradle her head and cry.
Since Randi Gorenberg was shot and killed last year, anger, suspicion, confusion and resentment have nearly consumed her family, "365 days of hell," as her mother, Idey Elias, calls it.
These are the true victims of the murder of Randi Gorenberg. Her family is convinced the 52-year-old woman's expansive spirit moved on even before the sound of the gunshots had faded. They were left behind.
As attention focused on the murder mystery, on the splashy and the sensational, another story quietly unfolded. As everyone waits to see whether detectives will crack the case, the ending of this other story remains just as uncertain:
Can a family so shattered by disaster, by the absence of its most important member, ever come together again?
Murders wreck families. In the wake of such tremendous trauma, victims' loved ones can feel alienated, estranged and angry at law enforcement. Also common is a sense of abandonment.
"Initially, everybody circles around you," said Stacey Scott, a victim advocate for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. "After a couple of weeks, a month, those people go on with their lives. Part of that is the society we live in: 'Hurry up and get over it. Let's move on.''"
In cases of unsolved crime, the pain is intensified. Investigations that stretch more than a year can mean a special kind of torture for families desperate for closure.
"They may experience it every year until the crime is solved," Scott said.
On the afternoon of March 23, 2007, Gorenberg was kidnapped after a trip to the Town Center mall in Boca Raton. Her captor or captors drove her black Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle to a park west of Delray Beach, shot her in the head and dumped her body on the pavement.
Several details of the crime continue to haunt detectives. The murder weapon was never found. Neither were Gorenberg's beige Kooba purse, wallet, cellphone, shopping bags or black-and-white Puma sneakers.
After Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her 7-year-old daughter were shot to death outside the Town Center mall in December, the sheriff's office joined with Boca Raton police to investigate the slayings side by side. Authorities have left open the possibility that Gorenberg's murder might have been the first in a sequence of killings and abductions. As the detectives work the case, her family waits.
The first public sign of the Gorenbergs' private unraveling came in August, when Daniel Gorenberg, 25, was arrested on felony charges after trying to fill a fake Xanax prescription at a Delray Beach Walgreens. It was the first of a handful of arrests on prescription drug charges that would eventually land him at Phoenix House in Citra, a little town about 25 miles south of Gainesville.
As he was being booked into the Palm Beach County Jail last summer, his father, Stewart Gorenberg, was touring the Southeast on a road trip with a Fort Lauderdale divorcée, his wife's family said.
The relationship, the family added, has been a source of consternation. Stewart Gorenberg, a chiropractor with an office in Fort Lauderdale, has since become estranged from his mother-in-law and brother-in-law. They hadn't spoken for some time when Broward County investigators arrested him at his office this month on two charges of insurance fraud. His attorney, Guy Fronstin, said the charges stemmed from homicide detectives' efforts to pressure Stewart Gorenberg after his wife's murder, a claim the sheriff's office has denied.
Reached by phone Friday, Stewart Gorenberg said he didn't want to talk about his wife's murder. "I really have nothing to say," he said.
"It's been extremely difficult for him to go on with his normal routine in life," Fronstin said of his client. "Almost like, 'When am I going to wake up from this nightmare?''"
Meanwhile, Randi Gorenberg's mother, Idey Elias, feels adrift as she tries to support her grandchildren.
"I can't be their mother, father and grandmother. It's very hard for me," Elias said. "I cry at the drop of a hat. I go to a musical, I can't stand it. I go to a funny movie and I cry. They say with time it gets easier, but it doesn't."
Her only consolation, she said, has been her son, Jerry Malitz.
Jerry has been her rock, she said. In September, he retired early from his job with the Institute of Education Sciences in Washington. He said he wanted to be able to see his mother at a moment's notice.
Coping with his sister's death has affected him in unexpected ways, he said. It brought him closer to his mother than he ever was before.
Malitz said he sees his niece, Sarie, as a point of hope for the beleaguered family. Set to graduate from the University of Florida in May, Sarie will enroll in a graduate school program at Columbia University in New York, her grandmother said with pride.
"She is doing what her mother wanted her to do," Elias said, and for a moment brightness supplanted the pain in her eyes.
Daniel, too, now has a chance to heal and contribute to society, Malitz said. If he successfully completes the treatment program, his criminal record will be wiped clean.
"The family's been to hell and back," Malitz said. But, he added, "I think there will be some good that happens."
As the family readied to unveil Gorenberg's grave stone on March 13, Daniel called his grandmother every night from jail. Reading from little scraps of paper, which he had written over with a stub of a pencil, he dictated a message to his mother.
When the family came together last week, Elias read it aloud.
"I did some bad things without thinking, and now I'm dealing with the consequences," she read. "I'm doing whatever it takes to be the best I can be. I am so sorry for all the negative experiences I put you through."
As her voice drifted over the cemetery, the family - Jerry, Stewart and Sarie - stood solemnly together and listened.
"Mom, I have the most vivid dreams of us all the time," Elias read. "They are so real. I feel like you never left me."
"I read it, and it was quiet," Elias said later. "And then everybody went their separate ways."
Last Update: 3/23 10:01 am
Today marks the one year anniversary of Randi Gorenberg's murder.
Gorenberg was last seen leaving the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton on March 23, 2007. She was shot and her body dumped from her black SUV in suburban Delray Beach.
Many believe her murder was the first in a series of attacks on women shopping at the Town Center Mall.
A task force has been created to investigate these attacks. The most recent of these attacks was the murder of Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter Joey in December.
Both cases have received national attention, including the help of America's Most Wanted, but remain unsolved.
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Stewart Gorenberg, the Fort Lauderdale chiropractor
who faced insurance fraud charges following the murder of his wife,
Randi, has resolved the fraud case, according to the Broward County
Clerk of Court's records. In a news release Wednesday, Stewart Gorenberg's
attorney, Guy Fronstin, said Gorenberg pleaded no contest in exchange
for prosecutors dropping one of the felony counts and downgrading the
other to misdemeanor petty theft. "This outcome unequivocally vindicates
Dr. Gorenberg of the false allegations," Fronstin wrote. Broward
authorities had charged Gorenberg with billing two clients for visits
that never occurred. Fronstin has contended the charges were part of
an effort to compel Gorenberg's cooperation with the investigation of
his wife's murder. Randi Gorenberg, who lived with her husband in suburban
Boca Raton, was found shot near Delray Beach in March 2007.
By Brian Haas |South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The husband of murder victim Randi Gorenberg pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of petty theft and will not face felonies accusing him of insurance fraud.
Stewart Gorenberg, 53, a chiropractor who lives west of Boca Raton, was accused of double-billing insurance companies in 2005. His attorney on Wednesday blamed the charges on detectives' zeal in investigating his wife's murder.
Randi Gorenberg, 52, was found dead March 23, 2007, in a park west of Delray Beach. She was last seen alive at Town Center at Boca Raton. The case remains unsolved.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office declined to comment on the allegations made by Stewart Gorenberg's attorney regarding the insurance case.
Spokeswoman Teri Barbera said the agency still needs the public's help in identifying two men who used Randi Gorenberg's credit card number Aug. 12 to make $1,000 in purchases in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Stewart Gorenberg has since closed his practice in Fort Lauderdale. According to his arrest report, in 2005 he had billed the same medical claim to a health insurance company and an automobile insurance company.
His attorney, Guy Fronstin, praised detectives for their work on the murder case but said the fraud charges arose from a mistaken focus on Stewart Gorenberg as an early suspect.
Detectives and Fronstin have said Stewart Gorenberg is no longer a suspect in his wife's murder.
Stewart Gorenberg pleaded no contest to the petty theft charge on Oct. 17, according to Broward County court records. The judge withheld adjudication, meaning Gorenberg will have no criminal record, and sentenced him to time served in jail and $392 in court costs.
Staff Writer Tonya Alanez contributed to this report.
Brian Haas can be reached at bhaas@SunSentinel.com or 561-243-6633.
By Dianna Cahn |South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hoping to make a break in the 2007 slaying of a woman who had just left the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, a top TV crime show this weekend will air enhanced photos of two men who made purchases with the woman's credit card.
America's Most Wanted sent blurry photographs released in September by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to NASA and had them enhanced so that the men might be identified, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera. The TV show also filmed a segment with Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw on Wednesday.
Randi Gorenberg, 52, was fatally shot less than 40 minutes after leaving the mall March 23, 2007.
Investigators said the men made $1,000 worth of purchases in Connecticut and Massachusetts on Aug. 12 with Gorenberg's credit card number.
Gorenberg was recorded on surveillance cameras leaving the mall at 1:16 p.m. At 1:54 p.m., a witness heard gunshots and saw her pushed from her Mercedes SUV in Delray Beach.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call
Sgt. Bill Springer at 561-688-4013, or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.
By MICHAEL LaFORGIA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Courtesy of NASA and a national TV show, detectives now know a little more about the men suspected of using a credit card stolen from Randi Gorenberg, the prominent wife and mother whose March 2007 murder remains unsolved.
America's Most Wanted, which took an interest in the case soon after Gorenberg was shot to death on March 23, 2007, after shopping at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, asked the space program's specialists to examine footage from a mall in Holyoke, Mass, where detectives said Gorenberg's credit card was used to buy food and video game consoles a year and a half after Gorenberg's death.
Authorities still are looking for the men.
After analyzing the footage, the specialists concluded that one of the men was wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap, said Teri Barbera, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
It's another small scrap of information in a case that still haunts the communities in southern Palm Beach County.
In a park west of Delray Beach, near Morikami Park and Jog roads, witnesses heard gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed to the pavement from her black Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle.
The SUV sped away and later was found abandoned behind Home Depot less than 2 miles away, at Jog Road and West Atlantic Avenue.
Anyone with information about the case can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS (8477).