Boca Town Center Murder: A Shopping Trip Turned Nightmare

Several incidents throughout 2007 at the Boca Town Center in Boca Raton, Florida, filled everyone with dread and left them fearing for their safety. It started with Randi Gorenberg’s brutal murder in March 2007, followed by the abduction and slaying of Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, sometime before Christmas that year. The second half of Investigation Discovery’s ‘In Pursuit with John Walsh: Murder at the Mall’ delves into these crimes and potential connections. So, if you’re curious to find out more, we’ve got you covered.

How Did Randi Gorenberg, Nancy Bochicchio, and Joey Bochicchio-Hauser Die?

Randi Gorenberg was a loving mother of two, residing in suburban Boca Raton, Florida when the incident occurred. The 52-year-old drove out to the Boca Town Center on the afternoon of March 23, 2007, to buy a music CD and some shorts. She was last seen on the surveillance cameras at the mall around 1:12 pm. But just about half an hour later, a witness called 911 after seeing a body being dumped from the passenger’s side of an SUV at a park in Delray Beach, Florida. Randi was shot to death, and robbery appeared to be the motive.

Nancy and Joey

Months later, one day in December 2007, 47-year-old Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, 7-year-old Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, went to the same mall for Christmas shopping. Sometime before midnight on December 12, 2007, a security guard found Nancy and Joey’s dead bodies in her car in the parking lot. Both had been shot in the head at point-blank range, and there was evidence they were bound.

Randi Gorenberg, Nancy Bochicchio, and Joey Bochicchio-Hauser’s Killer is Yet to be Found

In Randi Gorenberg’s case, the security footage at the mall showed her leaving with her purse and some shopping bags sometime after 1 pm. Then, about 5 miles north, at around 1:54 pm, a witness heard gunshots ringing out and noticed Randi being pushed out of her SUV at a local park. She was found without her shoes; her purse and cell phone were never found. Randi’s car, though, was located in the parking lot about two miles from the body. Surveillance cameras from that lot showed the vehicle come in just 5 minutes after the body was dumped.

Randi Gorenberg

As for Nancy and Joey, they were last seen leaving the mall before they were forced into her car by someone. The mother and daughter then drove to a nearby ATM, where she was made to withdraw $500. Nancy and Joey were bound with zip ties and duct tape, with the mother’s eyes covered by black-out goggles. Sometime after the brutal murders, Nancy’s purse, phone, and credit cards were found by two homeless men in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The authorities had also been dealing with several other attacks in the area in the same year. On August 7, 2007, a young mother and her 2-year-old son were kidnapped in the same mall parking lot. They were then forced to go to an ATM and draw out $600. Like Nancy and Joey, the mother and son, in this case, were bound with zip ties and duct tape and blinded by blacked-out goggles. However, the mother and son were brought back to the parking lot and survived, speaking to the police later.

A few days later, a 19-year-old woman was at Mizner Park in Boca Raton when she was robbed at gunpoint. The attacker asked her to go to an ATM, but she gave him $200 and survived. Then, the investigation revealed that the duct tape and zip ties used in Nancy and Joey’s abduction were bought at a store in Miami-Dade, where her belongings were found. This led the authorities to believe the killer was from the same area.

Nancy Bochicchio and Joey Bochicchio-Hauser

While no forensic evidence connected these cases, the investigators acknowledged the similarities and initially believed the murders were connected. In June 2011, Michel Barrera was considered a person of interest in Randi’s case after a prison inmate told police about a gang taking responsibility for the murder and pointing at Michel as the shooter. Furthermore, surveillance footage showed Randi’s car closely followed by another car whose description matched Michel’s relative’s vehicle.

However, there wasn’t enough evidence to conclusively prove Michel’s guilt. The authorities continued investigating these cases and looked into several tips, but they remained unsolved. In 2019, it was reported that the police believed Nancy and Joey’s murders were caused by the same person who kidnapped the woman and son earlier. However, they weren’t sure of their connection to Randi’s death or the robbery at Mizner Park.

DNA was found inside Randi’s vehicle, but it hasn’t yet been identified. As per reports, Randi’s husband, Stewart Gorenberg, stopped cooperating with the police department and was considered a suspect of interest. For now, the authorities have announced a reward for information related to Nancy and Joey’s death and have publicized a composite sketch from a description given by the survivor from the August 7, 2007, attack.

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