Fingerprint Detectives

A cold case that has haunted Miami-Dade, Florida for the past 55 years has finally been solved with the help of a former mayor.

Daniel Jess Goldman was just one day shy of his 18th birthday when an unidentified man abducted him at gunpoint from his parents’ Surfside home. The year was 1966. The perpetrator bound both of his parents and demanded a $25,000 ransom for their son. But the Goldmans didn’t receive instructions for the exchange and their son Daniel was never seen again.

Paul Novack, an attorney who served six terms as Surfside’s mayor, took a personal interest in the case in 2012. He began pouring over details of the kidnapping along with a group of fellow ‘sleuths’ who try to crack unsolved crimes.

Cold case detective John Grossman says “crucial information” uncovered by the former mayor led them to a man named George Defeis. He was a career criminal with ties to the Trafficante crime family.

The identification shed new light on the nature of the case. Just before Danny Goldman’s abduction, his father Aaron had testified to federal authorities about illegal activities at the bank where he worked. Detectives now believe Daniel’s abduction “was retaliation for Aaron’s cooperation with federal authorities,” Grossman told

Miami-Dade Police declared the case solved on Dec. 28, 2021.

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