Chilling 911 Calls Bare Palm Beach Dad's Anguish After Finding Teens' Bodies

Palm Beach Cops Warn Against Judgment in 'Murder-Suicide'

Tragic Family: Jennifer Berman, right, shown with her two children, Alex and Jacqueline.
instagram
Tragic Family: Jennifer Berman, right, shown with her two children, Alex and Jacqueline.

By Michael Kaplan

Published January 15, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Florida police warned against jumping to conclusions about the apparent murder-suicide of a Palm Beach mother who apparently killed her two teenage children before turning the gun on herself.

Authorities confirmed that Jennifer Berman seemingly gunned down her own children, but urged the public against rushing to judgment about what may have happened, according to local television reports.

“What we have to be cautious of is not to rush to judgment as to how they died. And that is why we wait for the medical examiner,” West Palm Beach Police spokesman David Lefont said.

Police have released the chilling 911 calls made from Jewish dad Richard Berman, as he and a neighbor discovered the lifeless bodies of his two children and their mother’s in an apparent murder-suicide in West Palm Beach on Monday.

“It looks like she’s laid in bed but she doesn’t have a face,” the neighbor told the dispatcher of Jennifer Berman, who had apparently shot and killed her two children before taking her own life.

“I was just touching his head,” Richard Berman said after discovering his son’s body. “He wasn’t waking up. His alarm was on, he wasn’t waking up, there’s blood in his ear.”

Family friends and neighbors have told the media that Jennifer Berman had grown unhinged in recent weeks due to long and stressful work hours and financial woes. Her home had been in foreclosure since 2010.

The couple filed for divorce in 2008, but never completed the process and continued to live together until last year, when Jennifer Berman told courts that her ex-husband was emotionally abusive.

Following the divorce, the parents reportedly agreed to share custody over their children, according to the Palm Beach Post. They alternated custody during the holidays and would spend Hanukkah with their father and Christmas with their mother.

The slain teens attended the selective Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach. Classmates told the New York Post that Alex was an accomplished cello player while Jacqueline was a straight A student.

Natalia Powers, a representative from the Palm Beach County School District, told the Forward that grief counselors have been present at the school throughout the week. “They will be there as long as necessary,” she said. “Our main goal is to help our students and faculty members deal with this horrible situation.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.