By Francisco Alvarado
By Trevor Bach
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
In the wee hours of February 25, Zoltan drove his luxury car to Jade Winds Condo with Edina. There, "a struggle ensued on the first floor," according to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's investigative report. Edina, with bruises on her face and arms, "took off in an attempt to escape." The couple left a trail of blood in the lobby and elevator. Zoltan chased her upstairs, where she hid in a friend's unit. She last saw her boyfriend near a balcony on the eighth floor.
When Miami-Dade Police arrived, they found Zoltan's 238-pound body sprawled on the roof of the first-floor balcony. He had a star-shaped fracture on the back of his head, broken ribs, and a hemorrhage in his left testicle, according to the autopsy report.
Zoltan's uncle — a cabinetmaker from Pompano Beach — believes he was murdered. "My nephew didn't kill himself," he insists, his grape-hued lips curving into a frown. "He loved himself."
On a recent muggy Tuesday, Flafil leans against the outside of a warehouse in Pompano Beach. He takes a drag off a Marlboro Light and points up at the sky. "Every time I see an airplane," he says softly, "I think of him."
Saturday, April 7, 2007
7:57 a.m., Winston Towers, Sunny Isles Beach
Ana awoke to find herself alone in bed. Her 85-year-old husband was nowhere to be seen. Nick was a Romanian-born building manager with round hazel eyes and a history of clinical depression. Ana shuffled down to the lobby and found a pack of firefighters, who gave her the news. He had fallen nearly 100 feet and landed in the parking lot. His head faced toward the sea.
Monday, April 23, 2007
7:04 a.m., Sailboat Cay, Miami
The wavy-haired stock market investor landed in a concrete planter after jumping from the sixth floor. Dominique's expensive wristwatch was covered in dirt, and seven of his ribs were broken. On his forehead was a cavernous wound. At age 55, he left behind a wife, two kids, and a carpet-cleaning shop named after him.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
1 p.m., One Miami, Miami
On June 29, 2006, a quietly confident 24-year-old named Tavarius logged onto his financial blog. "It makes me feel good," he typed, "when individuals my age manage their wealth appropriately." Then he logged off.
The slim, stylish entrepreneur had made thousands in the stock market and liked to post investment advice. But money, friends now say, was to blame for his death.
Tavarius grew up in a two-story yellow house with his grandma Helen in Royal Palm Isles. Childhood friend Brandie Zackery remembers him this way: "We were the geeks until he got popular in high school... Even then, he was always humble, never stuck-up."
After college at Florida A&M, Tavarius founded a Miami-based boutique investment firm called iVestDirect and made thousands in no time. Then the economy soured. As quickly as he'd earned it, Tavarius lost all of his money. It brought him down so low that he stopped showering and shaving.
On May 1, 2007, Tavarius invited some friends over to the penthouse for brunch. He didn't tell them he was getting evicted. George Caboverde, a teenaged party promoter, brought spicy shrimp for Tavarius' party. A few minutes after pulling up in his car, Caboverde spotted a slim, lifeless body near the driveway.
Miami Police Officer J. Garcia soon arrived and determined that the party host had jumped. The cop noted, "I observed [Tavarius] lying in the southwest corner" of the lot, near the condo restaurant. In the right pocket of his gray shorts were the keys to his condo.
After Tavarius' death, investigators found he had "one pregnant girlfriend and another who had just undergone an abortion." His son was born two months later.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
8:45 a.m. The Claridge, Pompano Beach
The obituary called it a "terrible accident," but Broward County Sheriff's officials said the 32-year-old jumped from the 24th floor.
Theodore was a distant relative of the last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. He studied the classics and ancient languages, earning a master's degree from Brown while avoiding the spotlight, reluctant to talk about his fabled family. "Theodore tended to be in his own world," Angela Hussein, a former classmate, told ABC News.
When his father, Prince Nikita, had a massive stroke, Theodore cared for him religiously. He became "severely depressed" when Nikita died in May 2007, his mother told sheriff's detectives. When he returned to Florida from a visit to his father's grave, Theodore told his mom he would "soon be with his dad."
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
4:09 p.m. Galt Ocean Terrace, Fort Lauderdale
Carlos Olortegui was doing laundry when he noticed a man in the building next door standing on his 18th-floor balcony, less than a hundred yards away. The 49-year-old had unremarkable features: fair skin, brown hair, a gray shirt, black shorts. His eyes were lucid. When Olortegui saw him climb onto the balcony railing, he opened his window and yelled "Stop!"
The man looked up, then jumped.
He hit several other balcony railings on his way down. By the time his body hit the parking lot, his sandals had fallen off his feet, and his head was swollen to the size of a basketball. Olortegui shooed away the men who had been doing construction in the area where the body fell. He called 911.