By Kevin Deutsch and Sasha Gonzales
It was a last message of love from Boca Raton’s unofficial “Mayor.”
Joey Bochicchio, the 7-year-old girl slain alongside her Bronx-reared mother in Boca Raton, Fl., sent a final, handwritten note to her estranged father before her murder by a ritualistic killer in 2007.
“To dad, I love you,” Joey said in her note, which Bronx Justice News uncovered in court papers filed in connection with multiple lawsuits brought against the mall’s parent company, Simon Malls, all of which were settled for undisclosed amounts. “We are together in heart. Your daughter, Joey.”
Joey’s note to dad Philip Hauser was discovered among a trove of previously unreported documents exclusively obtained by Bronx Justice News as part of its investigation into the mall attacks—records that are shedding new light on the still-unsolved crimes.
“[Joey] had such a promising future,” Nancy’s sister, JoAnn Bruno, said in moving testimony given during her civil case against Simon Malls. “She was a brilliant child and not because she was mine. She would go to Mizner Park and walk in the restaurant. And as soon as they saw her they would say ‘a dozen oysters.’ I mean, everybody knew her everywhere. They used to call her ‘The Little Boca Mayor.’ She had a personality like gold.”
Nearly a dozen years ago – roughly 1,260 miles from the Bronx neighborhood where Nancy, 47, grew up – the Bochicchios were murdered in shocking fashion, shot in their heads at point blank range in December 2007 after going Christmas shopping at the upscale Boca mall.
The crimes – among the most disturbing murders ever committed in modern-day South Florida, and part of a series of abductions and killings of mall patrons that year – had an outsized impact in New York, where the rest of the Bochicchio family, and some of Nancy’s friends, still reside.
The mother and daughter are interred in the Rosewood Mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery in Westchester County, just north of the Bronx.
The slain pair weren’t the only victims with roots in New York City; Randi Gorenberg, a Brooklyn-born mother of two, was abducted and slain in March 2007 after an afternoon of shopping at the same mall. Last seen on surveillance footage exiting the posh retail property, Gorenberg wasn’t seen in public again until half an hour later, when shocked witnesses watched her being fatally shot and tossed from the passenger side of her new Mercedes SUV.
Another mother and her 2-year-old-son were also kidnapped, taken from the same mall before the mother was ritualistically bound with goggles and zip ties in August of 2007—the same year as the other attacks. Goggles and zip ties were also used in the Bochicchio murders, police said.
The abductor later returned the mother and son to the mall, where he left both victims – terrified but alive – inside the mother’s luxury SUV.
Investigators believe the same man carried out the Aug. 7 attack and the Bochicchio murders, but are uncertain whether there is any connection to Randi Gorenberg’s murder—or to an armed robbery that occurred at Mizner Park on Aug. 10, 2007.
The 2007 abduction and murder spree spurred authorities to offer the largest reward in Florida’s history, but the killer or killers have never been found.
Anyone with information about any of the mall cases is asked to call Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.