By Michael E. Miller
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Bridget left Snyder's office without signing the release. As she and Regina exited the building, they ran into an Aventura police officer. "I stopped and spoke to him, and he told me: "Don't sign that form,'" Bridget recalls. "If Snyder would leave me alone, it would be different. But he started this whole thing back up when he said he wants to see me in his office."
This incident, Bridget says, is what finally prompted her to tell the Aventura Police Department that Daniel Greenhill had raped her.Doubtful as they were, the police were duty-bound to investigate the rape allegation. The detective assigned to the case was James Cumbie, the same man who five months earlier had investigated Daniel's allegation that Bridget was exploiting Regina. Cumbie again met with Regina at the Bonavida. But whereas in October she was effusive in her praise of her former nurse, this time Regina told Cumbie a completely different story. Another difference between the two interviews: Attorney Michael Snyder was present during this second session.
Regina told Detective Cumbie she first learned of the rape claim in November, not on October 10, the day Bridget says the assault occurred. According to Regina, Bridget also asked for and received $4000 to pay for an abortion, not the $1800 Bridget claimed. In the months that followed the alleged rape, Regina said, Bridget routinely visited the Bonavida seeking food and money. Regina added that she wanted Bridget evicted from her house.
Cumbie never interviewed Daniel, who had returned to his home in Israel five months earlier. He did not interview any of Regina's friends or neighbors, nor did he attempt to locate or contact the doctor Bridget says administered the pregnancy test. According to Chief Tom Ribel, Cumbie didn't do any of this because he wasn't actually investigating Daniel.
"She approached us as a victim, in reaction to the boys -- for lack of a better term -- trying to get her out of their mother's life," Ribel said. "They knew what she was doing. I think the history of the case predates her alleged rape. The precipitating incident is not the allegation of rape. That is a defense technique."
Even though Bridget claimed she was the victim of a first-degree felony that carries the possibility of life in prison, and even though Cumbie technically was investigating this allegation, Aventura police essentially were still treating her as a suspect. Cumbie spent a month on the case before requesting it be closed owing to Bridget's poor credibility. He predicated his recommendation on two primary pieces of evidence: a statement from Bridget's doctor and a polygraph test given to Bridget. New Times, however, has determined that both pieces of evidence are seriously flawed.
Bridget receives her medical care from a clinic at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. Although she can be seen by any physician working the clinic at the time, most of her care has been provided by Dr. Kathryn Lotspeich. Detective Cumbie, in his report, noted that he conducted a telephone interview with Lotspeich this past April 2. The doctor advised "that she did see Ms. Garcia some five months ago and that Ms. Garcia told her she was pregnant. The doctor performed a blood-level test, which showed negative results indicating Ms. Garcia was not pregnant.
"At this time," Cumbie continued, "the hospital has no record of treating Ms. Garcia for pregnancy or sexual assault and there is no witness or physical evidence to show a sexual battery occurred.... Ms. Garcia's doctor states that Ms. Garcia was not pregnant when she first examined her."
This statement is only partially accurate. At New Times' request, Bridget granted Dr. Lotspeich permission to discuss her patient's complete medical history. Contacted at Mount Sinai, where she is a third-year resident from the University of Miami's School of Medicine, Lotspeich was read the relevant paragraphs from the police report. "That's not what I said at all," she replied. "Bridget didn't speak to me until after the whole issue of the pregnancy had been resolved."
Scrolling through Bridget's medical records, which are stored on a computer, Lotspeich noted that Bridget, during a March 8 visit to the clinic, reported she had been raped. That was two weeks before she filed rape charges with the Aventura police. At that time Bridget told the attending physician, who was not Lotspeich, that she had already miscarried. She complained of severe depression, crying spells, and an inability to sleep. "She was treated for sexual assault," Lotspeich said, meaning she was referred by the attending physician to a case manager at the hospital and to the Rape Crisis Treatment Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Lotspeich next saw Bridget on March 16. "I've been seeing her for years. She's my patient," Lotspeich explained. "If she goes into the clinic on a day when I'm not there, she sees someone else. When I saw her that day, she was very apologetic. She thought I would be mad that she had told someone else [about the alleged rape] before she told me.
"She was still depressed, but she was sleeping better," Lotspeich added. "I ordered the pregnancy test primarily to check for sexually transmitted diseases. The test confirmed she wasn't pregnant, which was consistent with what Bridget was saying."