Faina “Fay” Zonis Murder: Is Paul Eduardovich Goldman Dead or Alive?

One evening in December 2003, Faina “Fay” Zonis’ family was worried when they couldn’t get a hold of her. Their worst nightmare came true when she was found brutally murdered at her workplace. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide City: A Russian Tragedy’ focuses on the trail of death that followed Fay’s demise and delves into who was responsible for her murder. So, let’s find out what happened then, shall we?

How Did Faina “Fay” Zonis Die?

Fay Zonis and her family were originally from Moldova and had moved to the United States hoping for a better life. The 42-year-old was married and had two sons. At the time of the incident, Fay worked as a mortgage processor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The beloved mother was well-known and well-respected within the community at the time. As per the show, Fay was supposed to visit her father at a hospital on the day she was killed.

However, Fay’s family couldn’t get a hold of her. Hence they checked on her at the office at around 8:40 pm on December 29, 2003. While Fay’s van was parked outside, she was found lying face up in the office. She had been stabbed in her face, chest, and neck several times. Furthermore, Fay’s head was pummeled into the floor multiple times, causing her teeth to fall out. The brutality of the crime shocked many at the time.

Who Killed Faina “Fay” Zonis?

While robbery was initially considered a motive, it was ruled out when the police found Fay’s purse and phone in the van. As per the show, Fay and her co-worker left the office together at around 6 pm, but it seemed like she returned later. Then, phone records showed that Fay had been in contact with one number at least 15 times in the seven or so hours leading up to the murder.

The number led to Paul Eduardovich Goldman. Paul and his wife, Irina Sapiro, lived in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and were good friends with Fay and her husband. A few years prior, Fay met Paul when he was a student at one of her computer classes. The investigation then revealed that the two began an affair at some point. As per the show, Paul and Irina were questioned initially, and their stories seemed to line up.

Both claimed to have gone shopping in New Jersey at the time of Fay’s murder. But according to the episode, surveillance videos from the stores showed Irina alone; there was no sign of Paul. Furthermore, he had deep cuts on his hand that he claimed to have resulted from an accident while cutting wood. A few days after the initial questioning, the authorities couldn’t get a hold of Paul. They spoke with Irina, who then confessed to what happened.

Irina initially claimed that Paul was away on business before stating he admitted to killing Fay. Then, Irina said that she drove Paul and his father to the John F. Kennedy airport in New York on January 7, 2004. From there, the two flew into Europe. After that, Paul’s father handed him a bag full of money and returned to the US. A postcard located at the Goldmans’ residence in Mount Laurel led the police to Grenoble, France.

How Did Paul Eduardovich Goldman Die?

Paul’s parents also admitted to the police about helping Paul leave the country. However, on January 13, 2004, the parents killed themselves by slitting their wrists. In a letter they handed over to Irina, they mentioned Paul’s behavior led them to take drastic measures. On January 20, 2004, he was arrested in France. However, just two days after the country approved his extradition to the US, Paul killed himself.

On April 11, 2004, the 39-year-old hung himself from a drainage pipe in a French cell in Grenoble using a bedsheet. At the time, he was on suicide watch, but according to the French authorities, Paul was not under constant surveillance. Paul’s cellmate was outside exercising at the time of the incident. According to the show, Irina pled guilty to hindering Paul’s apprehension and received 6 to 11 and a 1/2 months in prison.

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