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Linked Deaths

One of the most significant discoveries of the investigation is that many crimes, and many deaths, are connected in various ways. Crime and corruption are far more organized and deeply rooted than ever previously exposed. The volunteer team had set out to find the answers to two main questions 1) what happened to Danny Goldman and 2) why the case has remained an unsolved mystery for five decades.

The trail was complex and necessitated an understanding of context, including a close look at many other cases. The civilian cold case volunteers’ meticulous investigation of numerous crimes and events resulted in the compilation of a detailed, extensive timeline that provides both a macro and a micro view of the tide of organized crime. The timeline has yet to be made public. So far, we have identified 35 other deaths with commonalities. Of the 35 cases, 17 are officially deemed unsolved and 18 are deemed resolved and closed. Three of the victims were killed with the same firearm; several of the victims faced similarly arranged shootings; all of the cases involved the same association of criminals and corrupt officials. We discovered actual partnerships between high level organized crime figures, ranking members of law enforcement, and the wide array of people and agencies under their control.

Certain key criminals left tracks that tie them to multiple crimes. For example, our findings indicate that George Defeis was involved in the homicides of Danny Goldman, Gertrude Henschel, Estelle Oddo, and Richard Cloud. Despite arrests in various cases involving murder, narcotics, counterfeit cash, theft, and other crimes, Defeis never went to prison. He died of natural causes in North Miami. There are others, some deceased, some alive, who have also evaded public exposure and conviction. For some of the living, the statute of limitations on their crimes has passed. They are now unconstrained and able to cooperate with the volunteers, with no possibility of current or future prosecution.

On this page, cases are identified with victims’ names and dates. Incrementally we are adding details publicly. There are videos both old and new throughout this site, with newly shared personal accounts, along with samples of the dozens of photos and thousands of documents that have been obtained. Looking through all of the materials on line here will provide an overview of the startling findings that are being made.

In all of these 35 cases, we have identified open issues, new leads, and solid connections. The cases considered officially “closed” should not be, as the basis for closing them included inaccurate, inconsistent and corrupted information. Every one of these cases – whether the system considers them “open” or “closed”, were derailed by intentional efforts to spread false information and to thwart justice.

There are people in key official positions today with direct connections to people who ran the system on both sides of the law in the 60’s. Even now in 2018, there are continuing conflicts of interest and personal relationships that work to help keep cases cold, sidetracked, or simply closed. Families of victims know first hand the travesty of how they have been treated for decades, in their efforts to work with a system that is unresponsive and ineffective, at best. All of these cases can be resolved or at least brought into the light of day, and efforts to do that are continuing at this time.

“Paul Novack should be teaching Time Lines and Cold Case Investigation at the Academy in Quantico,” said retired FBI Special Agent Joseph Frechette in early 2016 after reviewing the posse’s work, detailed documentation, and conclusions. “The findings and success of this effort is amazing.”

“Paul Novack and his volunteer team have discovered connections and facts that were never known or understood before. They have found and assembled evidence that shows just how extensively major criminals were organized, with an intricate system of coordination and collaboration that invaded the purviews of law enforcement, courts, official agencies, and businesses. Their investigation has produced information and answers that had been hidden for several decades. This ongoing effort is a truly great public service.” -Sgt. Robert Hoelscher, Miami-Dade Police Department (50 years of service, currently retired). (October 2016)

“I could never adequately express my appreciation to Paul Novack and the volunteer investigation team. In addition to finding a long lost and loved relative of ours, they have found and shared information about crime and corruption that had been concealed for decades. We understand so much more now about my Uncle, his life, and his death, and our family will be forever grateful for the amazing dedication and hard work that has been so very productive.” -Vivian MacLeod, niece of former Sheriff T.A. Buchanan, deceased. (November 2015)

“An amazing job, great work. So many fascinating details coming out after all these years.”
Capt. Marshal Frank, Homicide Bureau, Miami-Dade Police Department, retired. (October 2014).


Charles Ferri ("open")
04-29-1955 Marie Ferri ("open")
06-14-1955 Marjorie Chillingworth ("closed")
Hon. C.E. Chillingworth ("closed")
Ruth Dowling (“closed”)
Louis "Babe" Silvers ("open")
Samuel "Barney" Barnett ("closed")
Joseph DiMare   ("open")
Gertrude Henschel   (“open”)
Tommy Griffin   (“open”)
Daniel Goldman   (“open”)
John Lamedica   (“closed”)
Arthur Dyas (“closed”)
Alfred McCurdy (“closed”)
Christopher McCary (“closed”)
Bobby Williams (“closed”)
Estelle Oddo (“open”)
Nat Ehrenberg ("open")
Delores Costello (“open”)
Reynaldo “Brian” Perez (“open”)
Anita Poveromo  (“closed”)
Brian Male (“open”)
Gilbert Beckley ("open")
Wally Jefferson (“closed”)
Seymour Kant ("closed")
Landon DeRiggi  (“open”)
James Patrick Kane  ("closed")
Henrietta Lloyd ("closed")
Clarence Gehrke ("open")
Brian Gehrke ("open")
Richard Cloud ("closed")
Candace Mossler ("closed")
T.A. Buchanan (“closed”)
Manson Hill (“closed”)
Mary Ann Bryan ("closed")

Danny Goldman was kidnapped during a crescendo of crime and corruption that was dominating all official aspects of Dade County. This film from 1966 has Ralph Renick interviewing Roy O’Nan about his participation and ties to corruption, illegal gambling, and several major law enforcement agencies in Dade County.

Members of the Department’s “upper echelon” were involved in multiple forms of corruption. They were managing crimes and criminals out of the Sheriff’s “intelligence office”, and those who either failed to split the proceeds of crime or threatened to talk about the criminal conspiracy were eliminated by set-up shootings. These same high ranking officers took over the Goldman kidnapping investigation from the first day. The organized crime figures who controlled them also dominated other branches of government and official offices, sufficient to control the entire system.

By 1966, the collaboration between law enforcement, burglars, and organized crime had become its own crime wave. However the pressures and threats of the partnership had gotten out of control. High ranking police officials, involved in sharing in the proceeds from particular targets, were concerned that the flow of money could be stopped. The risk of exposure by burglars testifying before grand juries and the perceived increase of crooks withholding more than their allotted share of the loot combined to create a dangerous scenario of retribution and consequences.

Shootings occurred as a means of protecting this major source of cash flow. In several cases with striking similarities, burglars were killed by county Sheriff’s deputies or municipal police officers. Burglars were assigned to do specific thefts or invited to attend a “meeting”. Deputies or officers were waiting – inside – for the burglars to arrive. Often, neither the burglars or the waiting detectives knew that they were both being directed by the same people. Crossing the threshold of doorways, each burglar was blown away – usually by multiple shotgun blasts.

Witness statements and physical evidence were gathered, and then ignored, by the investigating authorities from the same sheriff’s department. Records and statements made at the scenes said that there was no warning at all, that as the burglars entered the door they were promptly killed in an onslaught of gunfire. There is evidence that at least six burglars were killed as part of this manipulation and murder scheme run by ranking law enforcement officials.

Tommy Griffin in 1963 was apparently the first of this series of murders. Then in 1966 as the heat on the system grew, at least five more of these apparently planned events took place, ending the lives of Arthur Dyas, John LaMedica, Alfred McCurdy, Christopher McCary, and Bobby Williams.

Between the deaths caused by members of organized crime, and those caused by members of official agencies, the time period of Danny Goldman’s kidnapping and murder was a dangerous time that left many victims in its wake. It was part and parcel of activities that stretched back into the 1950’s as conspiracies run by Santo Trafficante and Meyer Lansky worked to take control over gambling and other criminal ventures throughout the State of Florida. Five decades later, murders of innocent victims and criminals remain unsolved and officially ignored. There are at least four young people who have been missing without adequate, accurate explanation or answers for decades. The citizens investigation has filled the void and moved all of these cases towards public awareness and honorable resolution.

The extraordinary effort of a small team of volunteers has turned into a historic event in itself. Never before has a private, pro bono, public service, volunteer effort become a huge investigation and exposure of organized crime in Florida, the Mafia, mobsters with many common familial and organizational ties to Brooklyn, to New York City, to Tampa, to Chicago, and of course to Miami. Answers that had been considered eternally elusive have been found by the volunteers and provided to family members of cold case victims. The information on this web site is a public report of findings at this point in time, and the work continues. Cold cases involving organized crime are too often in a protected mode, with official action long foreclosed as “administratively closed” and even before that the cases were effectively derailed. However, citizens dedicated to truth and justice – and accurate history and public awareness – can clearly make a positive difference for the present and future of communities and the nation.


“I’m going to hold Danny as security for the money. I wanted $10,000 but with the help I’ll need now it will  double. You get up $25,000. If you don’t get it for tonight the price will be double tomorrow. I’ll call about 6 or 7 tonight with instructions.”

The Kidnapper speaking to Aaron Goldman, March 28, 1966.

“We’ll have to find him, the boy or the kidnapper or both, one day.  I’ve never seen a case like this nor do I expect to ever see another one.”

FBI Special Agent to a Miami Herald reporter on June 25, 1966

“A lot of skeletons have been rattled; some of the ramifications will come out when the case is solved, most of them never.”

FBI Spokesman, June 25, 1966

“I’ve done my business as far as the kid was concerned and I didn’t get anything out of it.”

Joseph “Chicken” Cacciatore, July 1966

“I knew her only as Shirley Mason.”

George Defeis, referring to his alleged wife Shirley Defeis, who was actually Shirley Mason Cacciatore, October 25, 1966.

“Paul Novack and his team have made completely credible and crucial findings that have been concealed for decades before this citizens investigation. Critical information was concealed from me back then, but because of this volunteer work I now know what I wish I knew back in 1966 and 1967. Had I known then, the information that Mr. Novack uncovered and has shared with me now, I would have arrested George DeFeis for the murder of Estelle Oddo and all sorts of cases could have unfolded back then. I am so grateful that these cases are open to daylight now after so long and I credit this volunteer group for not letting these crimes be forgotten.”
Dade Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detective, Lt. Bob James, Retired, stated in April 2018. Personally knew and dealt with George DeFeis and Joe Cacciatore and others now known for involvement in numerous major crimes by the volunteer “posse”.
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