NBC6: Theories Surface in Surfside Cold Case of Kidnapped Teenager
A corrupt sheriff's office, the mob and greed all factored into the decades old mystery of the disappearance of a Surfside teenager.
Danny Goldman vanished in 1966, the day before his 18th birthday, and his body has never been found.
With little doubt in his mind, civilian investigator Paul Novack has a theory.
"I think it was covered up," he said. "Within a few years, some of the people involved had died already, and the case moved off everyone's radar."
But not off Novack's.
Somebody broke into the Goldman family’s house in Surfside back in 1966, tied up his parents Aaron and Sally, kidnapped Danny and demanded a ransom.
Novack lived in Surfside at the time and was younger than Goldman, so they weren't friends, but the crime bothers him anyway.
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Novack and some of Goldman's childhood friends convinced Miami-Dade Police cold case investigators to re-open the case last year.
Novack and his team got to work too, uncovering a massive burglary conspiracy involving high level persons in the then Dade County Sheriff's office.
"As to what we found, unbelievably shocking," Novack said. "I don't think that anybody in their wildest dreams could have imagined or written some type of fictional account that is as shocking and disturbing as what actually was going on."
His research led him to the specific actions of Chief of Detectives Manson Hill and Sgt. David Helman, both high ranking officials in the Dade County Sheriff's office.
Novack has collected hundreds Of documents linking the two deputies to noted burglar and low level mobster Joe Cacciatore, as well as infamous South Florida mob boss Santo Trafficante.
According to Novack, the four were involved in a larger organized burglary ring, protected by the Sheriff's Office.
Novack feels more than a dozen other deaths during that era were linked to the criminal operation.
"There may be more innocent people killed as a part of this series of events than anybody ever knew," Novack said.
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Even 40 years after the crime, Novack is finding former Sheriff's Office employees who have knowledge of the night Goldman disappeared.
He says Sgt. Helman and Det. Hill both went to the Goldman crime scene for the specific purpose of covering up that crime.
"I am talking to a number of people that were in the department at the time," Novack said. "All of them say that it was completely unprecedented for the people of that rank to be working a job in the field, taking over a crime scene or an investigation."
The suspicious story of Danny Goldman's disappearance and the culture of corruption in law enforcement in Miami during the mid-60's are not widely known. Novack hopes to change that.
"Between the crimes and the corruption, it's essentially a cover-up of a whole chapter in our community's history," Novack said. "I don't think that we are better off being ignorant of that chapter."
Original article link: http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/Theories-Surface-in-Surfside-Cold-Case-of-Kidnapped-Teenager-218233811.html