Double Murder Mystery Worries Jewish Snowbirds in Florida Condo

Two Weeks Later, Few Clues in Slayings of Toronto Retirees

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published January 24, 2013.
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“I came away from the meeting a little bit upset because we really learned nothing,” said Kolber.

Baron said that the police told residents not to expect answers any time soon. “They think it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of hard work,” Baron told the Forward.

Wise and Pichosky were buried in Toronto, where they lived half the year, on January 14. Wise was a well-known member of the Toronto Jewish community. She was a former director of Crestwood Valley Day Camp and vice-principal of the preschool division at Bialik Hebrew Day School.

On January 15, Hallandale Beach police officials told the Forward that the medical examiner had not yet determined a cause of death. Hallandale Beach police officials did not respond to inquiries about the cause of death on January 23.

Broward County District 17 chief medical examiner Craig Mallak told the Forward in an email that information about the cases was “under a Police hold” and that his office could release no information about them.

Even in active investigations, authorities rarely withhold the cause of death from the public, especially for such a lengthy period of time.

“We’re being very tight-lipped on this case,” Hallandale Beach Chief of Police Dwayne Flournoy told the Sun Sentinel, a South Florida paper, on January 22. “We just believe that providing details that relate to this case will severely hamper our ability to solve this case.”

Police told Venetian Park residents at the January 22 community meeting that they did not believe that race or gender motivated the killing, according to Kolber. Kolber did not recall whether they had mentioned religion.

Police also said they were sending investigators to Toronto to look into the couple’s background, without elaborating.

Venetian Park is a development of two-story condominiums on a small island in the Intracoastal Waterway just south of Ft. Lauderdale. Roads leading on to the island are guarded with security checkpoints, but the checkpoints are situated on public roads and allow all traffic through.

Homes in the neighborhood sell for roughly $400,000, according to one real estate website. Though the development was once largely made up of retirees, it’s diversified over the past decade, according to Baron. Now retirees and so-called “snowbirds,” who return north in the summer, live alongside young families.

Residents said that the murders had raised new concerns about plans to build a basketball court on a park in the middle of the development.

“The park seems like a good idea, but you don’t want strange people walking around your community when you don’t have security here,” Kolber said.


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