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Thread: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

  1. #1
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    boat Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    12/21/1972

    Wife Lost In Gulf

    A spokesman for Dr. Robert
    Rockfeld, husband of Linda
    Rockfeld, missing since a
    fateful boat trip from the
    Remuda Ranch last Saturday,
    said Wednesday night that
    Mrs. Rockfeld's father, Sollie
    Small, of Short Hills, N.J., has
    offered a reward of $10,000 for
    the recovery of his daughter
    "alive or otherwise" from the
    vast waters of the Gulf of
    Mexico.
    Mrs. Rockfeld has been
    missing since she and her surgeon
    husband embarked from
    the motel complex Saturday
    afternoon in a 14-foot fibreglass
    boat for a casual "boat trip"
    while on their "second
    honeymoon" according to Dr.
    Rockfeld. The 27-year-old
    mother of a 10-month old son
    and six months pregnant was
    last seen by her husband as he
    swam toward shore seeking
    help.
    Dr. Rockfeld, during a press
    conference Wednesday night at
    the Remuda Ranch, recounted
    the ill-fated boat ride. At his
    side sat his brother-in-law
    Gerald Dorf, a Newark, N. J.
    lawyer, and husband of the
    missing woman's sister.
    The doctor said he and his
    wife, in spile of "the lousy
    weather" set out for the boat
    ride shortly before noon on Saturday.
    He said that they had been
    out in the canal only a short
    time when the clamps holding
    the 9.5 horsepower motor
    powering the boat broke. During
    his attempts to tie the engine
    to the boat he said, the
    boat drifted into the channel
    and beyond the islands.
    Asked if he was aware that
    small boat warnings were issued
    that day he said "no, but
    I know it was lousy weather
    because I was sure it was lousy
    weather, I had to bundle up,
    but I wasn't planning to go
    out."
    He was questioned on this
    and asked, "You didn't plan to
    go out?" and responded, "1 got
    into trouble when I was — uh —
    10 feet from a pole. I could
    have just jumped out right
    there, with no trouble." He
    explained that what he meant
    by a pole was actually a channel
    marker.
    He continued, "I was maybe
    15 feet from land or so and we
    dropped the anchor. My wife
    dropped it and she didn't hit
    anything. It was crazy. Then I
    dropped it and it didn't hit
    anything. Then ! stuck an oar
    in and that didn't hit
    anything."
    Dorf interrupted at this point
    lo explain that Dr. Rockfeld
    (Continued on Page 3A)

    (Continued from Page One)
    was so preoccupied in trying to
    repair the broken motor clamp
    that he didn't realize the boat
    had drifted "beyond the
    islands and beyond the channel."
    He said, "it was
    physically impossible for Dr.
    Rockfeld to hold the engine and
    steer at the same lime."
    A hotel spokesman said ihe
    anchor was equipped with a
    "30 foot rope."
    Dr. Rockfeld explained,
    "What I did was! took the rope
    from in the boat as one rope
    was close to the motor and I
    wrapped it around the handle.
    It was a yellow rope. And
    then I held onto the motor and
    I was trying to be calm. Like
    putting it on choke and then
    slow start and then trying to
    pull it. After pulling it a few
    times it started and 1 couldn't
    - I just couldn't and then I got
    into trouble real quick. 1 tried
    to paddle it first and I couldn't
    and then I tried (he motor and
    then we laid down in (he boat
    and said we'll just wait for a
    boat to come by and then in
    about five minutes you know
    we seen how we were bouncing
    around a l i t t l e and then we
    tried the motor again, and I got
    it started and I kept telling her
    to give me slack so I could turn
    the motor and then everytime I
    got the boat turned around in
    the right way, one wave would
    just knock me off a little bit
    and then the next one would
    whip me around in the wrong
    directions. Once 1 had it going
    for about five minutes and •-
    and the boat began taking on
    water.
    All the lime I was running it
    ihe boat was taking on water
    and then she (his wife) gave
    me slack with the anchor rope
    - with the rope that was in the
    boat, and then the slack wound
    around the propellor.
    "The boat was afloat and
    then I bailed oul the boat —
    completely and it wasn't taking
    on water - it was strange,
    there was a little bit of spray,
    and I tried to reach down and
    uncurl the rope from the
    propellor and 1 couldn't — and
    1 didn'i have a knife to cut the
    anchor rope. If I could have cut
    it, undone it the other way, but
    I couldn't — you know - and I
    didn't think of reverse, and
    then 1 threw ihe anchor over.
    Then we just lay down again
    and were telling each other
    how scared we were nnd I said,
    'is this how it'll end' and I then
    said 'Well, let's see how
    buoyant these cushions are,
    we'll try ihose.'
    "She didn'i want me to go in
    the water. She wanted to just
    wait there. She said 'It's just 2
    o'clock, by 3 o'clock people will
    come out.' 1 said, 'No one will
    be out by three, that's
    ridiculous. If we wait till three
    we'll have no chance of coming
    back.' And — I said, Til go in
    and see if 1 can swim around
    and if I can swim around and
    make progress, well, you come
    in and we'll take the rest from
    there.' "
    At that point his narrative
    was interrupled by other questions
    about the search still to
    be conducted.
    Later, Dr. Rockfeld said
    when they left the boat it was
    still afloat and the motor still
    attached to it.
    He said when he realized his
    wife was unable to swim
    against the heavy seas he went
    back to her and told her he was
    going to try to make shore and
    obtain help. He said. "We discussed
    it and she nodded her
    agreement."
    Dr. Rockfeld discounted
    earlier stories that he gave his
    wife his buoyant cushion. He
    said "She had hers and I had
    mine."
    Dorf interjected saying,
    "I'm an absolute landlubber
    except for what I've learned in
    the last couple of days but I've
    been told that a boat riding
    light in the water like thai if
    caught by a breeze could be 200
    miles away by now and Mrs.
    Rockfeld could be in a different
    direction."
    Dr. Rockfeld continued, "In
    the channel there were boats -
    1 was sure we would see a boat,
    as a matter of fact when it
    happened, I was absolutely
    positive we would see more
    boats. There was no question in
    my mind there was going to be
    more boats. But there were no
    more boats,"
    He said when asked if his
    wife was a capable swimmer,
    "She was an okay swimmer,
    not a good swimmer."
    Dorf asked thai any inquiries
    regarding the reward be
    addressed to his office at 17
    Academy St., Newark, N. J.
    and said his office phone and
    home phone would be available
    to anyone who called the
    Remuda Ranch Motel.
    Dr. Rockfeld said when he
    left his wife in the water he
    swam for what may have been
    three or four hours before
    reaching shore.
    Last edited by Texaskowgirl; 10-05-2009 at 01:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    12/24/1972
    Collier Counly sheriff's
    deputies continued sifting
    leads loclay into the disappearance
    last week of Linda
    Rockfeld, 27, the wife of a New
    Jersey doctor.
    Various items including gas
    tanks have been found and
    reported to the dupuiies by a
    numer of persons attracted by
    the $10,000 reward offered by

    SoUic Small of Short Hills, N.
    J., fallicr of the missing
    woman.
    In each instance the items
    have been checked by the
    investigators but nothing found
    to dale has served to clear up
    the mystery of the missing
    woman.
    She and her husband, Dr
    Robert Rockfeld, were stranded
    in the Gulf of Mexico Dec. 16
    when the motor on their 14-foot
    fiberglass boat broke loose
    from its claps, according to Dr.
    Rockfeld, who survived the ordeal
    after being washed up on a sandbar
    at Round Key.
    Dr. Rockfeld returned to
    New Jersey Friday

  3. #3
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    12/29/1972
    The search for the body of
    Linda Rockfeld, 27, wife of a
    New Jersey surgeon still continues
    as Collier County
    Sheriff's investigators continue
    to sift leads provided by
    residents of the area.
    Mrs. Rockfeld has been
    missing since Dec. 16 when she
    and her husband abandoned a
    14-foot fiberglass boat in the
    Gulf of Mexico near the Ten
    Thousad Islands after the
    boat's motor clamps broke,
    according to the story told by
    Dr. Rockfeld, who survived.
    Investigator Jim Covington
    said today the case is still open
    and will be "continuing as long
    as new leads are found."
    "Right now," he said, "we
    would sure like to find either
    the body or the boat. It would
    answer a lot of questions still
    being asked."
    The family of the missing
    woman offered a $10,000
    reward for her recovery
    "either alive or otherwise."
    The SHERIFF'S Office has
    sent messages as far away as
    South America in the hopes the
    boat, described as "unsinkable"
    may have drifted ashore
    somewhere and was recovered.

  4. #4
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    5/27/1973
    New evidence into the disappearance
    of Linda Rockfeld
    during a boat ride with her
    surgeon husband, Dr. Robert
    Rockfeld, on Dec. 16 last year
    has led the Collier County
    Sheriff's Office and the Stale
    Attorney's Office to intensify
    their investigations into her
    death.
    State Attorney Joseph P.
    D'Alessandro and Sheriff E. A.
    Doug Hendry reported Saturday
    that they in a joint effort
    have developed new leads into
    the death of Mrs. Rockfeld, 27,
    of Short Hills N. J.
    They said the investigation
    was initiated Dec. 17, 1972,
    when it was reported to the
    Everglades sub-station of the
    Sheriff's Department that Mrs.
    Rockfeld and a 14-foot Orlando
    Clipper with a 9.8 horsepower
    engine, were missing in the
    Gulf of Mexico, in the vicinity
    of Round Key, between
    Chokoloskee Island and Cape
    Romano.
    Dr. Rockfeld had been
    picked up on Round Key by a
    passing boat. The area was
    searched by the Marine Patrol
    of the Collier Sheriffs Department
    assisted by the U. S.
    Coast Guard, the Coast Guard
    Auxiliary, Naples Civil Air Pa-
    Irol and citizens living in the
    area.
    Neither the State Attorney
    Office nor the Sheriff's
    Department will disclose the
    exact nature of the new leads
    but, bnth departments are intensifying
    their investigations.

  5. #5
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    4/8/1973
    Naples Daily News
    By CECIL FARRF.LL
    Staff Writer
    Lawyers for the family of
    Linda Rockfeld asserted in
    court papers filed Friday in
    Newark, N. J., thai they are
    considering legal action to
    require Linda's husband, Dr.
    Robert Rockfeld, "to defend
    his conduct and acts" involved
    in her disappearance while
    hailing with him off the
    Florida coast near Naples four
    months ago.
    The papers said thai New
    York Attorney Arnold Stream
    had been conducting an "extensive
    investigation" into the
    affair and that "it may develop
    from the continued investigation
    that there will be a lawsuit"
    against Rockfeld, an
    orthopedic surgeon at the
    Bronx Municipal Hospital in
    New York City.
    At one poinl, the court
    papers said, "The law of New
    Jersey is clear: It is a maxim
    of Common Law lhat no man
    can profit by his own wongdoing."
    The papers went on lo
    say that the court might be
    asked to apply that law in later
    legal proceedings.
    Linda, the 27-year-old
    daughter of millionaire Jersey
    industrialist Sollie Small,
    disappeared in Ihe waters off
    Naples last Dec. 16 while
    taking a pleasure ride with
    Rockfeld. Last month, Ihe surgeon
    filed suit seeking lo have
    her declared legally dead and
    to bar Small from taking any
    action on Linda's $500,000 to $1
    million estate. In addition, he
    asked to have Gerald Dorf, his
    brother-in-law, appointed
    guardian for the Rockfeld's
    only child, Scott, I.
    The disclosure that legal action
    against Ihe surgeon is
    under consideration was contained
    in a motion filed by the
    Small's New Jersey lawyer,
    Donald A. Robinson of Newark,
    seeking to have Linda's
    mother, Clara, appointed
    guardian for Ihe infant.
    Robinson said that the
    Smalls have "spared no funds
    and left no stone unturned in
    their efforts lo discover the
    true facts about the disappearance
    of their daughter."
    And he pointed out that since
    Scott was named as a defendant
    in his father's suit, Dorf
    was "unsuitable to serve as
    guardian" because Ihe
    interests of the infant would be
    in conflict with those of his
    father.
    Stream, it was learned,
    spend several days during (he
    last week in the Naples area
    where Linda disappeared, conferring
    with law enforcement
    officials. At the same lime,
    representatives of Rockfeld also
    were known to have interviewed
    persons in the area.
    Superior Court Judge Irwin
    Kimmelman has given lawyers
    for Linda's family permission
    to question Rockfeld about Ihe
    disappearance, and these
    depositions were expected to be
    taken later this month.
    A hearing on part of Rockfeld's
    suit had been scheduled
    for Friday before Kimmelman
    hut was postponed because Ihe
    surgeon has retained new
    counsel to represent him,
    Theodore Geiser, a partner in
    the law firm with Ihe former
    New Jersey Gov. Richard J.
    Hughes.
    Rockfeld, 31, contended in an
    a f f i d a v i t accompanying his
    own suit, that he and his pregnant
    wife abandoned their
    small boat after "the motor
    became inoperable" about a
    mile from land and that he
    tried to swim ahead for help
    after Linda became too tired to
    make headway. He swam
    safely to land and was picked
    up the following morning but
    neither Linda nor the boat have
    heen found.

  6. #6
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    11/23/1973
    Adrift Hulk Is Not
    Rockfeld Rental Boat

    The fiberglass hulk of a boat discovered
    just off the beach at Keewaydin Island didn't
    turn out to be the lead that sheriff's investigators
    had expected.
    A similar boat has been extensively sought
    since Dec. 16 when Linda Rockfeld, wife of
    New Jersey orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert
    Rockfeld, disappeared in the vicinity of
    Panther Key and Round Key in an incident
    that is still under investigation.
    She and her husband had gone for a boat
    ride in a rental boat obtained at the Remuda
    Ranch Resort. Dr. Rockfeld was found the
    next day on Round Key and told investigators
    his wife disappeared during their attempt to
    swim to shore after the boat's motor became
    disabled and the craft was blowing out to
    sea.

  7. #7
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    3/22/1974

    Six persons testified Thursday before the Collier
    County Grand Jury in the case of missing millionaire
    heiress Linda Rockfeld, who disappeared during a "boat
    ride" with her orthopedic surgeon husband Robert
    Rockfeld on Dec. 16, 1972, in the wind-tossed Gulf of
    Mexico.
    Two friends of Mrs. Rockfeld. both from New York,
    were brought to Naples to testify by Arnold Stream, a
    New York City attorney representing the parents of the
    missing woman.
    Mrs. Sum! Hennessy, a professor of sociology at the
    Graduate School of New York University and Norma
    Krauss, a student at the same university, both knew the
    missing woman and her swimming capabilities. It Is
    believed it was this Information that they related to the
    grand jury.
    A spokesman for the two witnesses said they were both
    prepared to testify that Mrs. Rockfeld was a poor
    swimmer, just capable of doing the "dog paddle."
    Following the disappearnace of Mrs. Rockfeld, her
    husband told investigators she was an "okay swimmer."
    Mrs. Rockfeld's body was never found in spite of on
    extensive and intensive search by sea and air for several
    days after she disappeared. The 14-foot boat which Dr.
    Rockfeld said he and his wife abandoned is also still
    missing. Shortly after the incident, Sollie Small, father
    of Mrs. Rockfeld and president of the Coffee-Mat Corp.,
    offered a $10,000 reward for Ihe recovery of her body and
    a $1,500 reward for Ihe recover)' of the boat which most
    marine experts agree was unsinkable.
    Also presenting testimony to the grand jury Thursday
    were Bruce and Edith Melvin, of Sweetwaler, Fla., (west
    of Miami) who were the first two persons to find Dr.
    Rockfeld on a sandbar leading from Round Key in the
    Ten Thousand Islands (he morning following the alleged
    mishap.
    In previous statements obtained from the Melvins they
    told the Daily News and other investigators that Dr.
    Rockfeld was first spotted by Mrs. Melvin early Sunday
    morning on Dec. 17 when she left her camp on an island
    adjacent to Round Key and "went out to take a look at the
    water."
    She said she saw what first appeared to be a "stump"
    on the sandbar but when she noticed it moving she called
    and awoke her husband who verified her belief that jt
    was a man.
    Mrs. Melvin said she shouted to the man and waved a
    piece of red cloth to attract his attention while her
    (Continued on Page 3A)

    husband launched their boat in order to reach the site
    where the man was apparently marooned.
    Upon his arrival at the Melvin camp, Mrs. Melvin said,
    she offered the doctor a cup of Mack coffee, thinking he
    would need it after being exposed to the cold and water
    for 19 hours but he told her he preferred it with "cream
    and sugar." She said she also offered him some sausage
    which she had prepared for breakfast but he refused it
    "because of his religion."

    Others who testified were Dick Orlando, at that time
    dockmaster at the Remuda Ranch Estates where the
    couple had stayed overnight and rented the boat about
    noon on the Saturday during which Mrs. Rockfeld
    disappeared. He had said in previous testimony to
    investigators that Mrs. Rockfeld had objected to the boat
    ride and asked him just prior to her departure in the boat
    with her husband, "Dick, if we are not back in a couple
    of hours, please God come look for me."

    Orlando, a former paratrooper, had stated just after
    the incident occurred that he had warned the doctor of
    impending weather conditions and advised him about
    taking the boat out because of the strong winds and low
    temperature, then in the 40's.
    Also providing information on the case to the grand
    jury were sheriff's deputies Jim Covington and Bert
    Morris, both of whom have worked with other investigators
    from the sheriff's department and the State Attorney's
    office for more than a year on the investigation of
    the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Rockfeld's disappearance.
    Dr. Rockfeld, in a motion before a New Jersey court to
    have his wife delcared legally dead, which was granted
    ,
    told the court at that time that he and his wife abandoned
    the boat after an engine bracket holding the 9'/2-
    horsepower Mercury motor to the boat's transom broke
    and caused the boat to drift into the open gulf after
    traversing more than a mile of tortuous channels through
    the Ten Thousand Islands.
    He said he and his wife, finally despairing of obtaining
    help and unable to maneuver the boat, went overboard,
    at his urging, in an attempt to swim to shore.
    According to tne doctor's own testimony, his wife was
    unable to make any headway against the wind and waves
    and after she "nodded" her head to him he left her in the
    water and tried to reach land himself for assistance.
    He estimated the time that they abandoned the boat as
    being about 2 p.m. "by the sun."
    Several hours later, he said, after dark, he crawled
    ashore on an island with a sandy shore and a clump of
    trees.
    He told investigators that because of his fatigue, he
    was unable to perform any further search for assistance
    and dug a hole in the sand and covered himself with a
    picnic table he found on the island. He was discovered
    the next morning by the Melvins and the search for his
    wife began.
    Investigators said they were unable' to find the picnic
    table which the doctor claimed he used for protection
    from the elements.
    Others expected to provide testimony today are several
    fishermen and professional charter guides familiar with
    the area who were boating on that day.
    The presentation of the case is being made to the grand
    jury by State Attorney Joseph P. D'Alessandro, assisted
    by Assistant State Attorney Robert Hagaman.
    'Arnold Stream, representing the missing woman's
    family, said he saw Dr. Rockfeld Wednesday afternoon in
    the lobby of the Beach Club Hotel in Naples but was
    unable to attract his attention. D'Ale'ssandro said it was
    his first impression that Dr. Rockfeld along with his
    attorney Theodore Geiser of- New York would make a
    voluntary appearance before the grand jury but he has
    been unable to establish that belief in the past few days

  8. #8

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    They never found her ???

  9. #9
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Rockfeld1974.JPG 
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ID:	1191

  10. #10
    Texaskowgirl Guest

    Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

    Finally, found a picture of her!


    6/13/1975
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Rockfeld06131975.JPG 
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ID:	1192

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