(NewsNation) — It’s been 12 years since Ellen Greenberg was found dead inside her Philadelphia apartment, and her parents are still questioning the death and pushing for a suicide ruling to be overturned.
Greenberg’s body was discovered Jan. 26, 2011, by her fiancé, Samuel Goldberg, who told police he kicked open the apartment door after returning home from the gym and receiving no answer from Greenburg. Once inside, Goldberg said, he found his fiancée in the kitchen, leaning against a cabinet with a knife in her chest and 20 stab wounds.
The family alleges in civil lawsuits that the medical examiner initially ruled the death a homicide but later reversed course after a closed-door meeting with city police. Greenberg’s parents, Josh and Sandra, want the suicide ruling changed, to either a homicide or undetermined manner of death.
“What I really want the public to know is Ellen was our daughter, but she could be your daughter. She could be your mother, sister, friend. And the way the authorities and the politicians are handling her case is a disgrace,” Sandra Greenberg said. “I want my daughter’s name cleared, and I also want people to realize that just because you’re an authority and you’re in in an important position doesn’t mean you get to make your own rules and make them work only for you.”
The district attorney in Chester County, which neighbors Philadelphia, is reviewing the case, Fox News reported in August. The DA’s office said last month the case is still being investigated, and it gave no timeline for the probe.
Retired FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer, who has been following the case since its inception, says nothing about the case was handled correctly. Speaking Monday on “CUOMO,” she questioned Goldberg’s claims about what he was doing that night and how he got into the apartment.
“He said he went down to the gym came up later to their apartment to open the door and it wasn’t open, it was locked, so he busted it in, only if you look at the pictures, there’s not enough damage for somebody to bust in the door,” Coffindaffer said. “You would see those side frames all torn up.”
Indeed, the photos from the crime scene show a door latch — like ones found in hotel rooms — still attached to both the door and the frame. In the 911 call, Goldberg tells the dispatcher “she stabbed herself” and then “she fell on a knife.”
Greenberg suffered stab wounds to her torso, back and head. The family consulted two experts, one of whom determined that a stab wound to her brain would have resulted in “severe pain, cranial nerve disfunction and traumatic brain signs” as well as “numbness, tingling (and) irregular heartbeat.”
That conclusion went against the findings in the medical examiner’s report, which determined that there was no damage to the spinal cord. But the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 2019 that neuropathologist Dr. Lucy Rorke-Adams said she had no recollection of the case, despite being the doctor cited in medical examiner’s report.
The family has sued the city of Philadelphia to compel the medical examiner’s office to change the manner of death, and an appeals court heard arguments in the case in November. A lower court previously ruled that the matter could proceed to trial, which was originally set for 2021.
Greenberg’s father contends there’s no plausible way she could have inflicted all of the stab wounds to herself. He also says she was a victim of abuse, citing bruises at different stages of healing on her body.
“My daughter was a victim of a brutal homicide,” Josh Greenberg said. “The police didn’t do anything.”