Toronto Jewish couple asphyxiated, Florida police say

Toronto Jewish couple asphyxiated, Florida police say

New details emerge from investigation of January murder of retirees Rochelle Wise and David Pichosky

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

An elderly Jewish man and woman were asphyxiated while in their Florida townhouse, police said Wednesday, revealing the first details of the investigation since the grisly double murder in early January. 

Rochelle Wise and David (Donny) Pichosky, retirees from Toronto. who resided in Hallandale Beach, Florida, during the winter months, were found dead on the evening of January 10. A neighbor used a key to enter their home due to concern over the couple having missed a lunch date scheduled for the day before.

Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy revealed at a press conference on Wednesday that the medical examiner had ruled the deaths homicide by asphyxiation. Flournoy declined to provide further details about the cause or time of death.

Wise, 66, was a respected and loved educator whose last position was as the preschool director at Toronto’s Bialik Hebrew Day School. She and Pichosky, 71, had been married for four years.

Despite some progress in the investigation, the perpetrators have not yet been apprehended. The family of the victims has put out a plea for help from the public, and Crime Stoppers has issued a $51,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of suspects.

Calling it a “senseless murder,” Flournoy said that based on the forensic evidence, it is believed that there was more than one perpetrator. As of yet, no motive for the crime has been determined. He also did not say if the evidence indicated whether or not the couple would have known the murderers. He declined to answer questions about whether anything had been taken from the townhouse.

“It angers me that someone came into this home and killed these two people who, [from] what we’ve been able to identify, they have no enemies,” he said. “They were nice people. They were enjoying their retirement. They were enjoying their new marriage.”

Flournoy noted that Wise and Pichosky were last seen by a family member who spoke with them by video chat at 8 a.m. on January 9. A day earlier, the couple had visited a local synagogue and gone to a nearby Walmart. Surveillance video from the store released Wednesday shows the couple walking the aisles, but not buying anything.

Another video, released on February 14, shows a woman walking near the couple’s home on January 9. It elicited a few calls from the public, but the woman has yet to be identified.

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