September 06, 2022
Ellen Rae Greenberg was twenty-seven years old when she was found dead in her apartment.
Ellen, who taught first grade at the local Juniata Park Academy, had been at work that day before she was discovered dead on the kitchen floor of the condominium she shared with her fiancé, Sam Goldberg, a television producer for NBC, in the Manayunk Neighborhood in Philadelphia.
Greenberg had gotten off work earlier than usual that day, there was a snowstorm, and the children were sent home early. She left work, stopping to get gas at around 1:30pm, and arrived at her apartment shortly after.
The condominium was located at Venice Lofts, at 4601 Flat Rock Road near Main Street.
Ellen was seen entering her unit several hours before she was discovered dead.
At around 6:40pm on 26 January 2011, Goldberg, who had returned from the gym located inside the building, returned to the unit. He would later say in a statement that he had went to the Gym at around 4:45pm that day.
Goldberg had difficulty opening the door from the outside, because the swing bar lock had been closed from the inside. He knocked on the door but received no answer, and sent a string of increasingly aggravated text messages to Greenberg before eventually forcing his way inside where he made the horrific discovery and called 911.
Ellen was found with a large knife protruding from her chest.
The Medical Examiner’s office and the Police had publicly debated whether the death was a suicide or homicide, with the medical examiner quickly ruling it a homicide after the initial examination of the body where they discovered twenty stab wounders to the upper body, ten of which were to the back of the neck. The victim also had stab wounds to her abdomen, chest, and deep cut across her scalp. She also had bruises in various stages on her arms, legs, and abdomen.
A spokesman for the M.E office at the time said: "Very rarely do we have a case where it takes really, really sifting through the evidence to determine what you have. It doesn't happen a lot like this."
Although suicide by multiple stab wounds to the chest is not a common method of ending one’s life, there was no evidence of forced entry to the apartment, no defensive wounds on Ellen’s hands or arms, and the neighbors did not hear any kind of struggle or commotion
Police added that they found no evidence of any DNA on the decedents clothing and the knife other than that of Ellen Greenberg herself.
The apartment door was also locked from the inside and nothing had been stolen from the unit.
Access to the condominium could be gained from either the main front door or the balcony. Police noted that a fresh blanket of snow on the balcony showed no indication that anyone had accessed the unit from there.
Although initially Ellen Greenburg’s death was ruled a homicide by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, it was later officially determined, in March 2011, to be a suicide- a ruling that shocked the victim’s loved ones who immediately began to doubt police.
The Medical Examiner’s office changed their stance to agree with the Police Department’s suicide ruling, however, they did not specifically state why they changed the ruling.
Lt. Evers told The Philadelphia Inquirer on 30 January 2011, that there was evidence to back up the theory that Greenberg's death was a suicide, adding, "I can't really discuss it." When further pressed the officer said investigators were “looking into some mental issues.”
It is believed Evers was referring to Greenberg’s regular psychiatrist sessions, which according to reports she attended for issues with anxiety. She was prescribed Klonopin for anxiety as well as Ambien.
Ellen was good at her job and well-liked in the workplace. She and her fiancé were scheduled to be wed in the summer and had been planning their wedding. Her family did not believe that she was in any kind of abusive romantic relationship and said she had never mentioned the idea of harming herself.
For the last decade, Greenberg's family have tried to have the suicide ruling changed back to Homicide or an undetermined manner of death, to no avail; however recently, The Chester County District Attorney's office has recently announced that it will be reviewing Ellen Greenberg's case after it was referred back to them by The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.
In 2019, Greenberg's family sued the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, and specifically, the pathologist, Marlon Osbourne, who performed Ellen's autopsy. The family asked that the cause of death be changed from suicide. The suit accused that investigating authorities had pressured the Medical Examiners office to change the ruling from homicide to suicide and argued that there could have been more than one knife used in what Greenberg’s family believe to have been a murder.
The question of whether Greenberg would have been able to inflict the final wound to her chest after sustaining such deep stab wounds to the back of her neck was also brought into question by the victim’s family.
Just two months previously, at the time of writing, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office announced that they would be unable to review one of their cases due to conflict of interest and shortly after The Chester County District Attorney's Office announced that they, the neigboring county, would be reviewing Greenberg's case.
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