The Widow and the Nurse, Part Two

When Bridget Garcia told police that her boss' son had raped her, they barely listened. This is her story.

"I've talked about this with the family," he relates, "and they've said they'll only cooperate if you promise to write a story about how this woman is taking advantage of the elderly." (Snyder declined requests for interviews with Regina and sons Daniel and Joel, but New Times contacted and spoke to them independently.)

"This is a nice lady; I feel for her," Snyder says of Regina. "If this is an article on elderly abuse, they'd be happy to cooperate. They want to see [Bridget] taken off the street. I thought about going to [Florida Attorney General] Bob Butterworth with this one, but in the end we decided not to. The reason we didn't is we didn't want to put [Regina] through any more stress. She's old. She's a stroke victim. We didn't want to put her through any more pain."

Snyder first became involved with the Greenhills in July 1999, at a time when Regina was still so pleased with Bridget that she decided to buy a house and let Bridget live there. After Snyder located a suitable home in North Miami Beach, he drafted a lease stipulating that Bridget could stay there rent-free as long as she was employed by the family.

Attorney Michael Snyder, son of the mayor of Aventura
Attorney Michael Snyder, son of the mayor of Aventura
Bridget Garcia: "I just want to disappear"
Jenny Zeiner
Bridget Garcia: "I just want to disappear"

Bridget stopped working for the Greenhills, of course, on the day she was fired, October 11, 1999. Two days later, at the urging of the vice president of the condominium where Regina lives, Bridget filed assault charges against Daniel Greenhill, claiming that on two occasions he had touched her breasts and groped her against her will. She did not file rape charges at that time. She claims to have withheld this more serious accusation at Regina's request. "It wasn't her fault," Bridget explains. "She didn't want the publicity, for everyone in the building to know. People who live there, they all loved Gina. They still do."

Once Bridget was fired, Snyder began the process of evicting her from the home. His involvement grew more intense in November, when Bridget stepped forward with a major new revelation. "A couple of months after Daniel raped me, I took a pregnancy test," Bridget says. "I bought the test from Walgreens. I know how to operate it. I told Regina the result. She said, "Are you kidding me?' I said, "No.'

"That's when she called somebody she knew," Bridget continues, "a tall, thin doctor with gray hair. He's elderly, Dr. Willaker or Dr. Winoker maybe." Bridget recalls being asked to meet with Regina and the doctor at Regina's apartment in Aventura's Bonavida condominium building. "When I walked in, he was already waiting for me," she says. "He took a blood sample and a urine test. He said I was pregnant. Gina told me I should not have the baby. She gave me the money for an abortion. I paid bills with the money. When I told her what I did, she said it was OK."

According to correspondence between Snyder and Bridget, which Snyder later faxed to the Aventura Police Department, the alleged pregnancy became one of his primary concerns. Bridget claims he knew about the rape and the pregnancy and was trying to cover it up. Snyder counters that he was fighting to get Bridget's medical records in order to reveal the pregnancy as yet another extortion attempt. "I don't think I've ever been able to prove anything she's said," he asserts.

In late November Snyder wrote Bridget a letter demanding she provide the name of the doctor who performed the abortion, even though she has always said she never had one. He also demanded the $4000 that Regina supposedly provided to pay for the procedure. (Bridget insists and has told police that Regina gave her only $1800.)

On the last day of February, Snyder, acting in Regina's name, sued Bridget for eviction from the house. She would be allowed to stay, he wrote to her, only if she proved she was pregnant.

A few days later, Bridget says, she fell on some stairs at home and miscarried. She did not tell Snyder about the miscarriage, and Snyder certainly behaved as if he was unaware of it. He sent Bridget a release from her personal doctor and ordered her to sign the form and return it to his office so he could obtain her medical records. "We will not stop the eviction proceedings until we can verify your pregnancy," he wrote.

Bridget never signed the form. Snyder evicted her from the house. Even after Bridget turned over the keys, Snyder continued to press for her medical records.

On March 21 Snyder summoned Bridget to his office. She arrived accompanied by Regina, having been driven over together in a car operated by Regina's current nurse. While Regina waited in the lobby, Snyder again ordered Bridget to authorize access to her medical history. "He was forcing me to give him my medical records," Bridget remembers. "He wanted to know what the doctors were treating me for. He wanted to see what was in the files, what was written up. That's my personal stuff. Maybe I would have given it to him if he wasn't so pushy. He's very bossy. He had a form out ready for me to sign. I just broke down and started crying."

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