(NewsNation) — More than 50 years later, Paul Novack believes he knows what happened to his childhood friend, Danny Goldman.
Goldman’s boyhood friends have waited 55 years for closure. Goldman was kidnapped in front of his family in their Florida home when he was 17, and later murdered.
Inspired by a letter written by Goldman’s mother that asked her son never be forgotten, and angered by the mysterious circumstances surrounding their friend’s death, his childhood friends set out to solve his murder.
Novack, one of Goldman’s childhood friends who helped solve the case, said on “NewsNation Prime” that Danny’s kidnapping and murder was “off the charts” as far as cold case lists and missing persons reports go.
“There was nothing happening and that couldn’t stand,” Novack said. “We decided a 17-year-old cannot be taken from his family home and then the whole situation get forgotten, so we set out to make sure that wouldn’t happen.”
All these years later they determined it was the mafia who killed Goldman.
On March 28, 1966 a man broke into the Goldman’s Surfside Family home and tied up 17-year-old Danny Goldman and his parents, Aaron and Sally. The intruder then demanded a $10,000 ransom at gunpoint.
When the family was unable to come up with the money the gunman took Danny as ransom and told his parents to wait for a call.
The call never came, and Danny was never seen again. He was killed and dumped into the Atlantic Ocean.
Novack said this had all the makings of a case “that was never designed to be solved.”
“There were elements of corruption in the initial investigation and there were a lot of misleads; a lot of trails were followed that led nowhere,” he said.
Novack and other friends of Danny’s sought new information and witnesses. They compiled and analyzed what they had and were eventually able to piece together what happened to their long-lost friend.
Aaron Goldman served on the board of a bank, and just two days prior had testified to illegal banking occurring there. The mob committed the crime in retaliation for Goldman’s testimony, said Miami-Dade police detective Jonathan Grossman.
“(Aaron) did not know that the bank was ultimately controlled by organized crime,” Novack said. “These were not ordinary irregularities at the bank.”
Three weeks after the kidnapping, federal indictments were brought down on the bank, but it was not tied to Danny’s killing at the time.
“Killing Aaron wouldn’t have derailed the case, but they wanted retribution,” Novack said. “They killed him, and by doing that they really sentenced the parents to a lifetime of pain.”
It was a mob hitman who broke into the Goldman’s home that fateful night. Police now believe that man was George Defies.
Defies had a distinct limp, police and Novack say, and it was determined a taxi dropped him off near the Goldman’s home just hours before the kidnapping.
A rubber glove tip, one so rare it was only imported into the United States by one doctor, was found at the scene, which Goldman’s friends were able to tie to a Brooklyn doctor who had treated Defies.
Novack and his team were able to tie Defies to another homicide case through their investigation, he said.
Danny’s parents died in 2010 and 2012, never knowing why their son was murdered. But his mother’s note asking her son not be forgotten lived on and his friends never gave up seeking answers.
Everyone involved with Danny’s murder is now deceased, Novack said, meaning none of them can be brought to justice. But exposing what happened to Danny can possibly prevent something like this from happening again.