ABC’s ’20/20: Do No Harm’ shows how Gail Katz’s disappearance in July 1985 left her loved ones worried and shocked, while her husband, Robert Bierenbaum, insisted that she had left on her own accord. Even though Gail’s family believed Robert to be involved in the incident, the police were unable to build a case for a while as the body was still not discovered. The missing body led to Robert getting off scot-free until his conviction more than 15 years later. Let’s delve into the details of the disappearance and find out if Gail’s remains are still missing, shall we?
Have Gail Katz’s Remains Been Found?
Unfortunately, Gail Katz’s remains are still missing and haven’t been recovered. After Gail went missing on July 7, 1985, her husband, Robert, claimed that Gail was suicidal and had walked out of their Manhattan apartment following an altercation. However, Gail’s family, and especially her sister, vehemently opposed this theory. They believed that Robert had something to do with his wife’s disappearance as, according to the show, she was already suffering from domestic abuse at his hands.
With Robert being an experienced pilot, the police even checked the flight records at the New Jersey airport and discovered that he had piloted a plane out into the Atlantic Ocean on the day of the disappearance. Although this led law enforcement to believe that he might have dumped her body into the ocean, they could not build up a case against him as there were no remains or any other evidence to back their theory.
In 1989, a body, without any identification, washed up on Staten Island. However, because DNA and forensic testing technology weren’t available at that time, the authorities used Gail’s old chest X-rays and concluded that the body might be the missing woman’s. Nevertheless, Robert was still allowed to walk free, and he moved to Las Vegas, where he dated other girls, partied, and even opened his own plastic surgery practice.
Though once DNA testing became available, a revisit to the case in 1988 brought it to light that the recovered body was not Gail’s in any way, shape, or form. Nothing was a match. Regardless, determined to give her some much-needed justice, the local police began interviewing everyone involved in Robert’s life, only for a former girlfriend to mention that the plastic surgeon was strangely confident about the police not finding his wife’s remains. Based on this statement and the flight records, Robert was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder.
Although there was no direct evidence linking Robert to the then-alleged homicide, he was ultimately found guilty of second-degree murder in 2000 and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 20 years. However, in a strange turn of events, Robert decided to confess during a 2020 parole hearing and claimed that he had strangled Gail to death before flying out with her body and dumping it into the Atlantic Ocean, which was precisely what the prosecutors had theorized. Robert was thus sent back to prison. Moreover, even though Gail’s remains are now confirmed to be at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, a recovery seems quite improbable and impossible.