Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Summary of the Aisenberg case

Case summary

On Nov. 24, 1997, Steve and Marlene Aisenberg reported their baby missing. At first, authorities said a kidnapper must have somehow entered the family's one-story house in Valrico and stolen 5-month-old Sabrina from her crib without waking the parents, her two siblings, ages 8 and 4, or Brownie, the family dog. There was no ransom note or sign of forced entry.

Nearly two years later, after authorities interviewed nearly 5,000 people and chased leads to 48 states and three countries, a federal grand jury indicted the Aisenbergs on charges of making false statements. The indictment quoted secretly recorded conversations from the Aisenbergs suggesting that Sabrina had been killed by her father while he was high on cocaine and that the couple staged an elaborate coverup.

But a federal judge said the tapes should be suppressed because they were largely inaudible and investigators lied about their case in order to get permission to record them. The case crumbled and the charges were dismissed in 2001.

In 2003, a judge declared the prosecution frivolous and ordered the government to pay nearly $3-million for the Aisenbergs' legal costs.

But the investigation remained open. Late in 2007, detectives sent an informant to secretly record jailhouse conversations with Scott Overbeck, a cocaine-using felon. The informant said Overbeck told him he had chopped up Sabrina's body and dumped it in the bay.

The informant said Overbeck had done this at the request of John Tranquillo, an investigator for Aisenberg attorney Barry Cohen. But Cohen says the inquiry stems from a vendetta against him on the part of the Sheriff's Office, a charge the Sheriff's Office denies.

Summary of the Aisenberg case 07/28/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 6:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Authorities say cocaine is making comeback in Florida

    Crime

    FORT LAUDERDALE — Drug enforcement officials say traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade.

    Traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade, officials say.  [Times files]
  2. Amid escalating Russia crisis, Trump considers major staff changes

    National

    President Donald Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a "war room" within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

    President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a retooling of his senior staff. [Doug Mills/The New York Times]
  3. Karen Lugo, 13, from Tampa, holds up her IPad Mini to take a picture of herself while relaxing in the sand alongside her mother, Karen Castro (on left), at the North Beach area of Fort DeSoto on Memorial Day (05/27/13). Karen comes to the beach with her family for holidays, she said. Also present was her older brother and three cousins.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, with Cobb pitching with a purpose

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:34: Cash said he has been pleased with Sucre's work and is trying to find playing time for him. ... Cash also said after reading Farquhar's comments about having trouble re-focusing after getting out of a jam and then going back out for a second inning he will factor that in to how he uses him. ... …

  5. To many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning

    Nation

    ANNVILLE, Pa. — Allison Jaslow heard it more than once as the long holiday weekend approached — a cheerful "Happy Memorial Day!" from oblivious well-wishers.

    Sgt. Heather Lynn Johnsen, of Roseville, Calif., guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Friday, March 22, 1996, in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. [Associated Press file]