CLUES SOUGHT IN SLAYING OF
WOMAN, 52 (3/25/07)
CLUES SOUGHT IN SLAYING OF WOMAN,
52 - VICTIM FOUND IN PARK IDENTIFIED AS W. BOCA RESIDENT
A Sheriff's Office community service aide found a black Mercedes SUV about 3 p.m. Friday behind the Home Depot at Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road, about two miles from the park where Gorenberg's body was found. Witnesses said she was shot, then thrown from the vehicle.
Investigators had no suspects or motive in the killing of Gorenberg, 52. Family and friends gathered in her home in the Boniello Acres community west of Boca Raton.
Her husband, Stewart Gorenberg, also 52, a chiropractor at Fort Lauderdale Accident and Injury Center in Fort Lauderdale, declined to comment Saturday.
"We have some promising leads," Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Miller said. "Her husband is cooperating with the investigation. We're trying to piece this together at this point."
Detectives did not find the gun while searching the SUV on Saturday.
Robin Tartarkin, former chairwoman of Project Graduation at Spanish River High School, said Randi Gorenberg was a volunteer in the program, which aims to keep high school graduates from drinking and driving on graduation night, while her two children were in the school years ago.
"It's just horrible," Tartarkin said. "She was very helpful and she loved her children."
Anyone with information should call Detective John Cogburn, 561-688-4063, or Crime Stoppers, 800-458-8477.
Jerome Burdi can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6531.
SLAIN, TOSSED WOMAN IDENTIFIED
- SEARCH OF HER MERCEDES YIELDS NO MURDER WEAPON
An autopsy finished Saturday afternoon concluded Gorenberg died of a gunshot wound to the head, said sheriff's office spokesman Paul Miller. A witness who did not wish to be identified said Friday that he heard two shots, then saw the woman pushed out of the Mercedes before the vehicle drove off.
Gorenberg's body was found in a pool of blood. She was wearing blue jeans, a green shirt and white socks, but no shoes.
The incident took place shortly before 2 p.m. in the park behind the South County Civic Center. Nearby Morikami Park Elementary School went into a voluntary partial lockdown afterward.
Randi Gorenberg was married to Dr. Stewart Gorenberg, 52, a chiropractor at Fort Lauderdale Accident and Injury Center on South Andrews Avenue. The couple own a home in upscale Boniello Acres, just down the road from Morikami Park, and have two children.
Calls to the Gorenberg family went unanswered Saturday afternoon.
Miller said Gorenberg has cooperated with the sheriff's office investigation and that the Mercedes GL450 from which the woman was pushed is registered under his name. He declined to provide additional information, saying the investigation is ongoing.
A sheriff's office community service aide found the vehicle abandoned behind a Home Depot about an hour after the shooting Friday, with a blood-stained interior.
Authorities searched the vehicle Saturday afternoon and did not find the murder weapon, Miller said.
"We do have some promising leads in the case. We are looking to see if anyone may have seen anything near the park," he said.
The sheriff's office also is seeking information about what happened behind the Home Depot where the SUV was found.
Anyone with information about the case should call sheriff's Detective John Cogburn at (561) 688-4063 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS (8477).
SLAYING SUSPECT SOUGHT
They were contacting Randi Gorenberg 's family and friends and combing through her records to find a suspect in her killing. A sheriff's official found a black Mercedes SUV about 3 p.m. Friday behind the Home Depot at Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road, about two miles from the park where her body was found. Witnesses said she was shot, then thrown from the vehicle. She lived with her husband, Stewart.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective John
Cogburn, 561-688-4063, or Crime Stoppers, 800-458-8477.
POLICE HOPING VIDEOS OFFER CLUES
Gorenberg was killed shortly before 2 p.m. about two miles from her home in the Boniello Acres community west of Boca Raton. Sheriff's officials found the Mercedes about an hour later behind the Home Depot at Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road, roughly two miles from the park.
Detectives did not say whether they know where Gorenberg may have come in contact with her killer. Her home showed no signs of a break-in, Miller said.
There are no known motives or suspects in the killing, he said.
Gorenberg was married to Stewart Gorenberg, also 52, a chiropractor at the Fort Lauderdale Accident and Injury Center. The couple filed for divorce in 1988 but the case was dismissed a year later, according to court records. They had a son, Daniel, and daughter, Sarie.
Gorenberg's husband is cooperating in the investigation, Miller said.
Authorities are examining video surveillance in areas west of Delray Beach to see whether cameras captured the SUV's movements or signs of how Gorenberg met her killer. They also are looking for her purse and cell phone for insights into what she was doing before her death.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. today at B'nai Torah Congregation at 6261 SW 18th St., west of Boca Raton.
Staff Researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
Leon Fooksman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6647.
'SHE HAD A WONDERFUL SPIRIT'
The murder of Randi Gorenberg , a 52-year-old wife and mother of two, has stunned the close-knit Jewish community west of Boca Raton, friends said. "She had a wonderful spirit. She would walk into a room and we could feel her positive energy and her presence. She was a woman filled with love," said Rabbi David Steinhardt, who presided over Gorenberg's funeral at B'nai Torah synagogue, where she was a member. "She was extremely devoted to her family, a very committed wife, mother and daughter and very, very beloved by her friends."
Gorenberg and her husband, Stewart, have been contributors to the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County since 1992, said Andy Rose, its vice president of marketing and communications.
Gorenberg also was involved with the federation's young adult division and Super Sunday phone-a-thons, he said.
News of her murder shocked the community.
"Everybody's down about it," Rose said.
As mourners gathered for the funeral, authorities continued investigating the brazen shooting, which happened about 1:50 p.m. Friday in the Gov. Lawton Chiles Memorial Park near Jog and Morikami Park roads.
A witness saw a black Mercedes sport utility vehicle stop just beyond the park's entrance, heard two gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed from the Mercedes as it sped away. She was shot in the head.
About an hour later, a sheriff's community service aide found a black Mercedes GL450 with a bloodstained interior behind Home Depot on Jog Road and Atlantic Avenue.
The car is registered to Gorenberg's husband, who was questioned Friday, authorities said.
Investigators have released few details about the circumstances surrounding the killing.
Sheriff's detectives, who were canvassing the shops and businesses around the crime scene Monday, had yet to account for Gorenberg's shoes - she was found wearing white socks, blue jeans and a green shirt - purse or cellphone on Tuesday.
Sheriff's spokesman Paul Miller said detectives reported no signs of a break-in at their Boniello Drive home in suburban Boca Raton.
Miller added that investigators were working diligently on the case.
"They're making progress," he said.
Staff writer Lona O'Connor contributed to this story.
DETECTIVES SEARCH HOUSE OF SLAIN
The search, conducted after detectives obtained a search warrant, was part of a routine investigation into the killing of Randi Gorenberg , a 52-year-old wife and mother, said Paul Miller, sheriff's office spokesman. Although the detectives showed up without notice, Miller said the search didn't necessarily signal a shift in the focus of the investigation. "We have to proceed to obtain as much evidence as possible," he said. "There shouldn't be any conclusions drawn as a result of that process."
Miller added that the victim's husband, Stewart Gorenberg, is cooperating with the investigation.
Detectives have been pursuing leads since Friday, when a witness saw a black Mercedes sport utility vehicle stop just beyond a park entrance near Morikami Park Elementary School. He heard two gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed from the Mercedes as it sped away.
She was shot in the head.
About an hour later, a sheriff's community service aide found a black Mercedes GL450 with a bloodstained interior behind the Home Depot on Jog Road and Atlantic Avenue. The Mercedes was registered to the victim's husband.
Authorities have released few details about the circumstances surrounding the killing as the investigation has progressed.
Detectives questioned Stewart Gorenberg, a chiropractor in Fort Lauderdale, after the shooting and he cooperated fully, Miller said.
Gorenberg's funeral was Tuesday afternoon at a suburban Boca Raton synagogue. On Wednesday night, family and friends still in mourning moved to a relative's home in suburban Delray Beach as homicide detectives and crime scene investigators pored over the Gorenbergs' 7,000-square-foot house.
Miller said investigators were searching for Gorenberg's shoes -- she was found wearing white socks, blue jeans and a green shirt -- purse and cellphone, among other items.
It made for a dramatic scene in the manicured Boniello Acres neighborhood near Jog and Clint Moore roads, where Gorenberg lived with her husband. Authorities stretched crime scene tape across the stately palms that lined the Gorenbergs' front yard, forming a perimeter inside which the detectives paced.
At one point, an investigator crossed the street to speak to neighbors in their driveway.
Two crime scene vans were pulled up close to the house, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office command trailer was parked outside, its generators whirring as the sun set.
DIVERS FAIL TO FIND GUN IN POND
"It's not in that [pond] where we looked. We can say that," Sgt. Yvonne Cacioli said.
Two divers alternated time in the water from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The black Mercedes SUV from which Gorenberg was dumped was found by deputies in the parking lot near the pond and Home Depot store at Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road.
She was shot in the head, then pushed out of the car, which is registered to her husband, about two miles from where the SUV was dumped, investigators said.
Gorenberg was married to Stewart Gorenberg, also 52, a chiropractor at the Fort Lauderdale Accident and Injury Center.
Divers searched the 165-foot-long pond from the shore toward the middle, about 75 feet out, and found nothing but vegetation and trash, Cacioli said.
"We're just trying to eliminate all the possibilities as to what could have happened to the murder weapon and other evidence that might lead us up to the killer," Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Miller said.
Wednesday night, investigators searched Gorenberg's home in the Boniello Acres neighborhood west of Boca Raton but afterward gave no details.
Anyone with information should call Detective John Cogburn at 561-688-4063 or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.
Jerome Burdi can be reached at email@example.com
DIVERS SEARCH FOR WEAPON IN SLAYING
A week has passed since Randi Gorenberg was shot in the head and pushed from a black Mercedes sport utility vehicle in a park west of Delray Beach. Authorities on Thursday had yet to identify a suspect or make an arrest.
"We're still trying to piece this together," said Paul Miller, sheriff's office spokesman. "This is a very difficult case."
On the surface, homicide detectives have had little to go on. A witness saw the black Mercedes stop near a park entrance about 1:50 p.m. last Friday, heard two gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed from the car.
While sheriff's deputies and fire-rescue workers sped toward the victim, her killer drove north on Jog Road toward Atlantic Avenue, steered the Mercedes into a loading area behind Home Depot and disappeared.
A sheriff's community service aide discovered the bloodstained Mercedes about an hour later.
It was registered to Stewart Gorenberg, the victim's husband, though detectives learned Randi Gorenberg had been driving the car last Friday, Miller said.
Authorities questioned Stewart Gorenberg, a 52-year-old chiropractor at Fort Lauderdale Accident and Injury Center, after the slaying He cooperated fully, Miller said.
Family and friends gathered for Gorenberg's funeral Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday evening, detectives arrived unannounced at the Gorenbergs' $2.2 million home in suburban Boca Raton and served a search warrant, displacing mourners as investigators pored over the 7,000-square-foot house.
Miller wouldn't say whether that search yielded any clues, and authorities have so far released few details about the circumstances surrounding the killing.
Bleary-eyed detectives spent the week watching security camera footage, hoping to catch a glimpse of the killer as he made his getaway.
Investigators have also been hammering out a timeline of Friday's events, and their sense of the killer's window of opportunity has grown narrower, Miller said.
Short of finding the gunman, the answers to some of the most perplexing questions in the case -- why was the victim found wearing socks but no shoes and what became of her purse and cellphone? -- remained a mystery Thursday.
Investigators intent on retracing the killer's steps turned to a retention pond behind the Home Depot, hoping to dredge up the murder weapon.
Sheriff's divers waded into the water about 11 a.m. to begin a painstaking, foot-by-foot search of the muddy pond bottom.
Working in 30-minute shifts and following directions radioed from the banks, two divers had twice groped their way across the pond by 1 p.m., when they un-shouldered their air tanks, loaded up the vans and left empty handed.
FAMILY PLEADS FOR HELP - DAUGHTER,
MOTHER OF MURDERED WOMAN TURNING TO THE PUBLIC
As Palm Beach County Sheriff's Capt. Jack Strenges told what detectives know of Randi Gorenberg 's final hour, Idey Elias and her granddaughter overshadowed his voice with the emotion of their loss.
"My daughter was brutally murdered, thrown out of a vehicle with a bullet in her head," Elias said. "Help us find this monster who did this to my darling daughter, Randi. He took the life of a beautiful woman who was so good."
Elias shook with her pleas.
"Help us," she said. "Please help us."
Detectives are going through surveillance videos to see if they can help find the killer in Gorenberg's black 2007 Mercedes Benz GL450 sport utility vehicle.
At 1:16 p.m. March 23, surveillance cameras captured Gorenberg leaving the Town Center mall in Boca Raton near Neiman Marcus and talking on a cell phone. Detectives think Gorenberg made it to her car safely, but don't know what happened after that.
"We're keeping an open mind on this. I'll leave it at that," Strenges said during a news conference Friday.
At 1:54 p.m., a witness heard gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed from her Mercedes at Gov. Lawton Chiles Memorial Park, on Morikami Park Road and Jog Road west of Delray Beach, about five miles from the mall.
At 1:59 p.m., surveillance cameras captured the SUV entering the Home Depot parking lot at Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road, less than two miles from the park. Detectives found the Mercedes shortly after, behind the Home Depot. The gun and Gorenberg's Puma sneakers and brown Kooba purse are missing.
Detectives have searched Gorenberg's Boniello Acres home west of Boca Raton and the retention pond behind Home Depot.
Gorenberg, 52, who also had a son, Daniel, was married to Stewart Gorenberg, also 52, a chiropractor at the Fort Lauderdale Accident and Injury Center. Stewart Gorenberg was not at the news conference. The Gorenberg family has offered $10,000 for information leading to an arrest.
"There has to be one person out there who can break this case open," family attorney Guy Fronstin said. "That is the sole objective of this family now. Our goal is to get the public talking about it."
In a written statement late Friday, Town Center general manager Sam Hosn said, "The safety of our shoppers and tenants is always our foremost concern."
He declined to comment on any details of the case.
Strenges said Gorenberg's family wanted to come forward.
"The mother is never going to be the same again, the daughter is never going to be the same again," Strenges said.
Anyone with information should call Sgt. Rick McAfee at 561-688-4012 or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.
Jerome Burdi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6531.
MYSTERY, AGONY INTENSIFY IN KILLING
The grainy video shows Gorenberg, 52, leaving the mall at 1:15 p.m., shopping bags in hand. After a few paces, she pauses to lift a cellphone to her ear. She walks slowly, as if talking to someone or listening to a voice mail. Then, still holding the phone, she stops. She stands perfectly still in the center of the broad walkway as two shoppers amble past her.
Twenty-nine seconds pass before she drops her cellphone into her purse and strides briskly out of the frame.
To investigators, the footage is as tantalizing as it is frustrating. Somewhere nearby, only minutes beyond that phone call, Gorenberg met her killer. She was next seen at 1:54 p.m., about 4 miles from the mall, lying dead in the roadway.
Missing from her Mercedes, discovered an hour later behind a nearby shopping plaza, were her $600 khaki Kooba purse, her black-and-white Puma sneakers and her cellphone.
As homicide detectives puzzled over the case this week, the woman's family choked on its grief.
"My daughter was brutally murdered, thrown out of a vehicle with a bullet in her head," Idey Elias, Gorenberg's mother, said during a news conference Friday at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office headquarters. "I appeal to all mothers, daughters, grandmothers: Please help us find this murderer, this monster who did this to my darling daughter Randi."
At her side, the victim's 21-year-old daughter, Sarie, begged for help in solving the case.
"My mom would help you, she would do anything to help anyone," she said, her face twisted in agony and sadness. "If there's anything you saw or heard, or anything ..."
Gorenberg's husband, Stewart, 52, and son, Daniel, 24, were elsewhere in the building during the news conference. Neither felt composed enough to go before the cameras, said Guy Fronstin, a West Palm Beach attorney the family hired after the killing.
"There's been a lot of tears in this family," Fronstin said. "They'd like to see whoever did this arrested, taken off the streets and locked up."
At 1:54 p.m. March 23, a witness saw Gorenberg's black Mercedes SUV stop in a park behind the South County Civic Center in suburban Delray Beach, heard two gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed to the street.
Five minutes later, at a Home Depot at Jog Road and Atlantic Avenue, a security camera trained on the southeast corner of the parking lot recorded a black Mercedes SUV flashing by and turning left toward Atlantic Avenue before leaving the frame.
A sheriff's community service aide found the bloodstained Mercedes behind the hardware store, less than 2 miles from the crime scene, about an hour after the shooting. The Mercedes was processed for evidence and towed to the sheriff's office impound lot, where it remains.
Since then, homicide detectives have lost sleep, come in on days off, pushed the limits of their endurance -- and still seemed no closer to making an arrest Friday.
On Sunday, crime scene investigators pulled a bullet fragment from the roadside where Gorenberg was dropped in Gov. Lawton Chiles Memorial Park.
On Wednesday, a day after Gorenberg's funeral at a synagogue west of Boca Raton, homicide detectives got a search warrant and arrived unannounced to search the Gorenbergs' $2.2 million home in suburban Boca Raton, displacing mourners as investigators scoured the house.
The next morning, two sheriff's divers took turns groping along the muddy bottom of a retention pond behind the Home Depot in an unsuccessful search for the murder weapon.
Specialists hoping to glimpse the killer's face Friday were working to digitally enhance the five-second clip of the Mercedes driving in the Home Depot parking lot, sheriff's Capt. Jack Strenges said.
Aside from the video clips, authorities have released few details about the investigation.
Detectives wouldn't say whether they found fingerprints, shopping bags or other evidence inside the SUV, nor would they say whether they had studied Gorenberg's cellphone records.
Investigators also had yet to account for Gorenberg's cellphone, purse and shoes -- she was found wearing white socks, blue jeans and a green shirt.
One week later, authorities wouldn't say whether the killing appeared spontaneous or planned.
"We can't comment about that," said Paul Miller, sheriff's office spokesman.
Anyone with information about the shooting should call Palm Beach County sheriff's Sgt. Rick McAfee at (561) 688-4012.
Randi Gorenberg 's last hour
Through video surveillance and interviews, authorities have pieced together someof what happened before and afterGorenberg was shot, killed and dumped from her SUV onMarch 23.
1:16 p.m.: Video captures Gorenberg leaving the Town Center mall in Boca Raton. She is walking toward the parking lot, carrying two shopping bags near the valet parking zone.
1:54: A witness hears two gunshots and sees Gorenberg being pushed from a Mercedes SUV near Gov. Lawton Chiles Park behind the South County Civic Center in suburban Delray Beach. She is not wearing shoes.
1:59: A surveillance camera records the Mercedes in a Home Depot parking lot at Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road, less than 2 miles from the shooting scene.
Around 3: A deputy finds the Mercedes parked behind the Home Depot. The interior is spattered with blood, but authorities will not say whether anything else is found inside the car. Authorities say Gorenberg's shoes, purse and cellphone are missing. They will not comment on the shopping bags.