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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

January 16, 2004
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Murder Suspect's Parents Commit Suicide After Aiding Son's Escape to Europe

By Maryclaire Dale, The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The international manhunt for a suspect in the slaying of a Philadelphia woman grew more complex this week with the apparent suicides of the suspect's parents, who allegedly helped him flee overseas as police moved in.

The FBI is searching for Paul Goldman, 39, a married handyman who lived in New Jersey until he escaped to Europe.

The mystery surrounding Goldman deepened Tuesday when the bodies of his parents were found in their blood-splattered bathroom in the Philadelphia suburb of Bensalem. They had slit their wrists.

Investigators learned that Edward Goldman and Inessa Lemashova visited the suspect's hospitalized son, handed their daughter-in-law $20,000 in cash and their wedding rings, and asked her to translate their suicide notes from Russian to English.

"We found a suicide note. They said that they could not live with the disgrace of their son's conduct," Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons said Thursday.

Goldman, a native of Uzbekistan, and his father flew to an undisclosed European country on Jan. 7 after paying cash for tickets at a New York airport.

The elder Goldman flew back the next day, after giving his son a paper bag stuffed with $100 bills, Gibbons said.

Paul Goldman is wanted in the stabbing death of Faina Zonis, a married mortgage processor he apparently met through the Russian-American community. At some point, the two began an affair.

Goldman is accused of attacking Zonis Dec. 29 at her real-estate office in suburban Philadelphia after her colleagues had left for the day.

Detectives initially thought robbery was the motive but focused on Goldman after seeing the victim's cell phone records, which showed the pair exchanged about 15 cell phone calls the day before Zonis was stabbed.

Paul Goldman's wife, Irina Sapiro, and his father offered an alibi, saying they had been shopping with him. However, surveillance tapes showed Sapiro shopping alone the night of the slaying. Under further questioning by detectives, Sapiro and Edward Goldman allegedly told police Paul Goldman admitted killing Zonis.

Sapiro is now charged with hindering the investigation, a felony, with bail set at $1 million. She does not yet have a lawyer.

Her young son is hospitalized in New Jersey with a chronic illness while authorities search for Paul Goldman.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

"Everybody he left behind is either dead, incarcerated or hospitalized," Gibbons said.

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