In any murder case, the victim’s loved ones often try their best to not only get justice but also find some semblance of peace after such a tragic event. The same holds true for Phil and Ruth Markel, who continue to mourn the death of their son, Dan Markel, following his death in July 2014. Just shy of a decade since then, the parents have left no stone unturned in trying to find those who might have been responsible for their pain. The case is covered in ABC’s ’20/20: First Divorced Then Dead’ and shares valuable insights into the lives of those involved in the affair. With the recent developments in the case, the world is once again curious about what they might be up to these days.
Who are Phil and Ruth Markel?
Phil and Ruth Markel became parents to Dan Markel on October 9, 1972, when he was born in Montreal, Quebec, though he grew up in Toronto, British Colombia. The couple also has a daughter named Shelly and came to love both of their children very much. Hence, the news of Dan’s death was a massive blow to the two. “From the day I learned of Dan’s death, I experienced a life sentence,” Ruth said in a court statement in October 2019. “Dan’s murder will continue to torment me for the rest of our lives.”
For Ruth, Dan was a man with few flaws, given his dedication towards his family, no matter if they were based in Canada or Israel. While she had always been proud of everything he had achieved in his career, she was most joyous about his role as a father of two. Dan’s divorce from Wendy Alderson certainly was not a happy moment for the family, but they did try to move on before the tragedy struck them in the form of Dan’s death.
Amidst the grueling legal processes that the Markels have been going through since the death of their son, their biggest source of pain was apparently the fact they could visit their grandsons, as Wendi Alderson blocked their attempts towards the same. She also changed her sons’ last names to Alderson from Markel, a move that further upset Phil and Ruth. In the years following the death of Dan, his parents could not do much about visiting their grandchildren due to Florida’s laws.
Where are Phil and Ruth Markel Now?
In recent years, Phil and Ruth Markel have made much progress not only while trying to gain justice for their son but also in their quest to reunite with their grandchildren. Following Sigfredo Garcia’s arrest in 2016, Wendi Alderson stopped the Markels from visiting her sons. However, the state of Florida passed a law, which is informally called the Markel Act, in September 2022. As per the new law, grandparents could ask for visitation rights to a child if a living parent is convicted of a felony. While the requirement does not necessarily apply to Wendy Alderson, it has indeed given Phil and Ruth some hope.
As for Dan’s murder, a total of four people have been convicted for the crime as of writing. The first sentencing was that of Luis Rivera, which took place on October 4, 2016. He had entered a plea deal and admitted to the charge of murder, leading to a 19-year sentence in prison. This was followed by Sigfredo Garcia being found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy on October 11, 2019, leading to a life sentence plus an additional 30 years in prison.
Next came the conviction of Katherine Magbanua, who had been dating Charles “Charlie” Alderson (Wendi Alderson’s brother) at the time of Dan’s death. She was found guilty on May 27, 2022, of first-degree murder, conspiracy to kill someone, and solicitation. As a result, she was given one life sentence and two 30-year terms in prison. Charlie Adelson was found guilty on the same charges as his former partner on November 6, 2022, though his sentence will be announced on December 12, 2023.
The convictions have certainly helped Phil and Ruth Markel feel like justice has been imparted in at least some part. Ruth, who has been writing since the 1980s, published a book on September 20, 2022, titled ‘The Unveiling: A Mother’s Reflection on Murder, Grief, and Trial Life.’ It details her thoughts regarding her son’s death. Charlie Alderson’s recent conviction has also made the Markels happy, though it seems obvious that they are hopeful for more answers regarding their son’s tragic passing.