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Old 10-05-2009, 12:35 PM
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boat Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972


Wife Lost In Gulf

A spokesman for Dr. Robert
Rockfeld, husband of Linda
Rockfeld, missing since a
fateful boat trip from the
Remuda Ranch last Saturday,
said Wednesday night that
Mrs. Rockfeld's father, Sollie
Small, of Short Hills, N.J., has
offered a reward of $10,000 for
the recovery of his daughter
"alive or otherwise" from the
vast waters of the Gulf of
Mrs. Rockfeld has been
missing since she and her surgeon
husband embarked from
the motel complex Saturday
afternoon in a 14-foot fibreglass
boat for a casual "boat trip"
while on their "second
honeymoon" according to Dr.
Rockfeld. The 27-year-old
mother of a 10-month old son
and six months pregnant was
last seen by her husband as he
swam toward shore seeking
Dr. Rockfeld, during a press
conference Wednesday night at
the Remuda Ranch, recounted
the ill-fated boat ride. At his
side sat his brother-in-law
Gerald Dorf, a Newark, N. J.
lawyer, and husband of the
missing woman's sister.
The doctor said he and his
wife, in spile of "the lousy
weather" set out for the boat
ride shortly before noon on Saturday.
He said that they had been
out in the canal only a short
time when the clamps holding
the 9.5 horsepower motor
powering the boat broke. During
his attempts to tie the engine
to the boat he said, the
boat drifted into the channel
and beyond the islands.
Asked if he was aware that
small boat warnings were issued
that day he said "no, but
I know it was lousy weather
because I was sure it was lousy
weather, I had to bundle up,
but I wasn't planning to go
He was questioned on this
and asked, "You didn't plan to
go out?" and responded, "1 got
into trouble when I was — uh —
10 feet from a pole. I could
have just jumped out right
there, with no trouble." He
explained that what he meant
by a pole was actually a channel
He continued, "I was maybe
15 feet from land or so and we
dropped the anchor. My wife
dropped it and she didn't hit
anything. It was crazy. Then I
dropped it and it didn't hit
anything. Then ! stuck an oar
in and that didn't hit
Dorf interrupted at this point
lo explain that Dr. Rockfeld
(Continued on Page 3A)

(Continued from Page One)
was so preoccupied in trying to
repair the broken motor clamp
that he didn't realize the boat
had drifted "beyond the
islands and beyond the channel."
He said, "it was
physically impossible for Dr.
Rockfeld to hold the engine and
steer at the same lime."
A hotel spokesman said ihe
anchor was equipped with a
"30 foot rope."
Dr. Rockfeld explained,
"What I did was! took the rope
from in the boat as one rope
was close to the motor and I
wrapped it around the handle.
It was a yellow rope. And
then I held onto the motor and
I was trying to be calm. Like
putting it on choke and then
slow start and then trying to
pull it. After pulling it a few
times it started and 1 couldn't
- I just couldn't and then I got
into trouble real quick. 1 tried
to paddle it first and I couldn't
and then I tried (he motor and
then we laid down in (he boat
and said we'll just wait for a
boat to come by and then in
about five minutes you know
we seen how we were bouncing
around a l i t t l e and then we
tried the motor again, and I got
it started and I kept telling her
to give me slack so I could turn
the motor and then everytime I
got the boat turned around in
the right way, one wave would
just knock me off a little bit
and then the next one would
whip me around in the wrong
directions. Once 1 had it going
for about five minutes and •-
and the boat began taking on
All the lime I was running it
ihe boat was taking on water
and then she (his wife) gave
me slack with the anchor rope
- with the rope that was in the
boat, and then the slack wound
around the propellor.
"The boat was afloat and
then I bailed oul the boat —
completely and it wasn't taking
on water - it was strange,
there was a little bit of spray,
and I tried to reach down and
uncurl the rope from the
propellor and 1 couldn't — and
1 didn'i have a knife to cut the
anchor rope. If I could have cut
it, undone it the other way, but
I couldn't — you know - and I
didn't think of reverse, and
then 1 threw ihe anchor over.
Then we just lay down again
and were telling each other
how scared we were nnd I said,
'is this how it'll end' and I then
said 'Well, let's see how
buoyant these cushions are,
we'll try ihose.'
"She didn'i want me to go in
the water. She wanted to just
wait there. She said 'It's just 2
o'clock, by 3 o'clock people will
come out.' 1 said, 'No one will
be out by three, that's
ridiculous. If we wait till three
we'll have no chance of coming
back.' And — I said, Til go in
and see if 1 can swim around
and if I can swim around and
make progress, well, you come
in and we'll take the rest from
there.' "
At that point his narrative
was interrupled by other questions
about the search still to
be conducted.
Later, Dr. Rockfeld said
when they left the boat it was
still afloat and the motor still
attached to it.
He said when he realized his
wife was unable to swim
against the heavy seas he went
back to her and told her he was
going to try to make shore and
obtain help. He said. "We discussed
it and she nodded her
Dr. Rockfeld discounted
earlier stories that he gave his
wife his buoyant cushion. He
said "She had hers and I had
Dorf interjected saying,
"I'm an absolute landlubber
except for what I've learned in
the last couple of days but I've
been told that a boat riding
light in the water like thai if
caught by a breeze could be 200
miles away by now and Mrs.
Rockfeld could be in a different
Dr. Rockfeld continued, "In
the channel there were boats -
1 was sure we would see a boat,
as a matter of fact when it
happened, I was absolutely
positive we would see more
boats. There was no question in
my mind there was going to be
more boats. But there were no
more boats,"
He said when asked if his
wife was a capable swimmer,
"She was an okay swimmer,
not a good swimmer."
Dorf asked thai any inquiries
regarding the reward be
addressed to his office at 17
Academy St., Newark, N. J.
and said his office phone and
home phone would be available
to anyone who called the
Remuda Ranch Motel.
Dr. Rockfeld said when he
left his wife in the water he
swam for what may have been
three or four hours before
reaching shore.

Last edited by Texaskowgirl; 10-05-2009 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

Collier Counly sheriff's
deputies continued sifting
leads loclay into the disappearance
last week of Linda
Rockfeld, 27, the wife of a New
Jersey doctor.
Various items including gas
tanks have been found and
reported to the dupuiies by a
numer of persons attracted by
the $10,000 reward offered by

SoUic Small of Short Hills, N.
J., fallicr of the missing
In each instance the items
have been checked by the
investigators but nothing found
to dale has served to clear up
the mystery of the missing
She and her husband, Dr
Robert Rockfeld, were stranded
in the Gulf of Mexico Dec. 16
when the motor on their 14-foot
fiberglass boat broke loose
from its claps, according to Dr.
Rockfeld, who survived the ordeal
after being washed up on a sandbar
at Round Key.
Dr. Rockfeld returned to
New Jersey Friday
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:48 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

The search for the body of
Linda Rockfeld, 27, wife of a
New Jersey surgeon still continues
as Collier County
Sheriff's investigators continue
to sift leads provided by
residents of the area.
Mrs. Rockfeld has been
missing since Dec. 16 when she
and her husband abandoned a
14-foot fiberglass boat in the
Gulf of Mexico near the Ten
Thousad Islands after the
boat's motor clamps broke,
according to the story told by
Dr. Rockfeld, who survived.
Investigator Jim Covington
said today the case is still open
and will be "continuing as long
as new leads are found."
"Right now," he said, "we
would sure like to find either
the body or the boat. It would
answer a lot of questions still
being asked."
The family of the missing
woman offered a $10,000
reward for her recovery
"either alive or otherwise."
The SHERIFF'S Office has
sent messages as far away as
South America in the hopes the
boat, described as "unsinkable"
may have drifted ashore
somewhere and was recovered.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

New evidence into the disappearance
of Linda Rockfeld
during a boat ride with her
surgeon husband, Dr. Robert
Rockfeld, on Dec. 16 last year
has led the Collier County
Sheriff's Office and the Stale
Attorney's Office to intensify
their investigations into her
State Attorney Joseph P.
D'Alessandro and Sheriff E. A.
Doug Hendry reported Saturday
that they in a joint effort
have developed new leads into
the death of Mrs. Rockfeld, 27,
of Short Hills N. J.
They said the investigation
was initiated Dec. 17, 1972,
when it was reported to the
Everglades sub-station of the
Sheriff's Department that Mrs.
Rockfeld and a 14-foot Orlando
Clipper with a 9.8 horsepower
engine, were missing in the
Gulf of Mexico, in the vicinity
of Round Key, between
Chokoloskee Island and Cape
Dr. Rockfeld had been
picked up on Round Key by a
passing boat. The area was
searched by the Marine Patrol
of the Collier Sheriffs Department
assisted by the U. S.
Coast Guard, the Coast Guard
Auxiliary, Naples Civil Air Pa-
Irol and citizens living in the
Neither the State Attorney
Office nor the Sheriff's
Department will disclose the
exact nature of the new leads
but, bnth departments are intensifying
their investigations.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

Naples Daily News
Staff Writer
Lawyers for the family of
Linda Rockfeld asserted in
court papers filed Friday in
Newark, N. J., thai they are
considering legal action to
require Linda's husband, Dr.
Robert Rockfeld, "to defend
his conduct and acts" involved
in her disappearance while
hailing with him off the
Florida coast near Naples four
months ago.
The papers said thai New
York Attorney Arnold Stream
had been conducting an "extensive
investigation" into the
affair and that "it may develop
from the continued investigation
that there will be a lawsuit"
against Rockfeld, an
orthopedic surgeon at the
Bronx Municipal Hospital in
New York City.
At one poinl, the court
papers said, "The law of New
Jersey is clear: It is a maxim
of Common Law lhat no man
can profit by his own wongdoing."
The papers went on lo
say that the court might be
asked to apply that law in later
legal proceedings.
Linda, the 27-year-old
daughter of millionaire Jersey
industrialist Sollie Small,
disappeared in Ihe waters off
Naples last Dec. 16 while
taking a pleasure ride with
Rockfeld. Last month, Ihe surgeon
filed suit seeking lo have
her declared legally dead and
to bar Small from taking any
action on Linda's $500,000 to $1
million estate. In addition, he
asked to have Gerald Dorf, his
brother-in-law, appointed
guardian for the Rockfeld's
only child, Scott, I.
The disclosure that legal action
against Ihe surgeon is
under consideration was contained
in a motion filed by the
Small's New Jersey lawyer,
Donald A. Robinson of Newark,
seeking to have Linda's
mother, Clara, appointed
guardian for Ihe infant.
Robinson said that the
Smalls have "spared no funds
and left no stone unturned in
their efforts lo discover the
true facts about the disappearance
of their daughter."
And he pointed out that since
Scott was named as a defendant
in his father's suit, Dorf
was "unsuitable to serve as
guardian" because Ihe
interests of the infant would be
in conflict with those of his
Stream, it was learned,
spend several days during (he
last week in the Naples area
where Linda disappeared, conferring
with law enforcement
officials. At the same lime,
representatives of Rockfeld also
were known to have interviewed
persons in the area.
Superior Court Judge Irwin
Kimmelman has given lawyers
for Linda's family permission
to question Rockfeld about Ihe
disappearance, and these
depositions were expected to be
taken later this month.
A hearing on part of Rockfeld's
suit had been scheduled
for Friday before Kimmelman
hut was postponed because Ihe
surgeon has retained new
counsel to represent him,
Theodore Geiser, a partner in
the law firm with Ihe former
New Jersey Gov. Richard J.
Rockfeld, 31, contended in an
a f f i d a v i t accompanying his
own suit, that he and his pregnant
wife abandoned their
small boat after "the motor
became inoperable" about a
mile from land and that he
tried to swim ahead for help
after Linda became too tired to
make headway. He swam
safely to land and was picked
up the following morning but
neither Linda nor the boat have
heen found.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

Adrift Hulk Is Not
Rockfeld Rental Boat

The fiberglass hulk of a boat discovered
just off the beach at Keewaydin Island didn't
turn out to be the lead that sheriff's investigators
had expected.
A similar boat has been extensively sought
since Dec. 16 when Linda Rockfeld, wife of
New Jersey orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert
Rockfeld, disappeared in the vicinity of
Panther Key and Round Key in an incident
that is still under investigation.
She and her husband had gone for a boat
ride in a rental boat obtained at the Remuda
Ranch Resort. Dr. Rockfeld was found the
next day on Round Key and told investigators
his wife disappeared during their attempt to
swim to shore after the boat's motor became
disabled and the craft was blowing out to
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972


Six persons testified Thursday before the Collier
County Grand Jury in the case of missing millionaire
heiress Linda Rockfeld, who disappeared during a "boat
ride" with her orthopedic surgeon husband Robert
Rockfeld on Dec. 16, 1972, in the wind-tossed Gulf of
Two friends of Mrs. Rockfeld. both from New York,
were brought to Naples to testify by Arnold Stream, a
New York City attorney representing the parents of the
missing woman.
Mrs. Sum! Hennessy, a professor of sociology at the
Graduate School of New York University and Norma
Krauss, a student at the same university, both knew the
missing woman and her swimming capabilities. It Is
believed it was this Information that they related to the
grand jury.
A spokesman for the two witnesses said they were both
prepared to testify that Mrs. Rockfeld was a poor
swimmer, just capable of doing the "dog paddle."
Following the disappearnace of Mrs. Rockfeld, her
husband told investigators she was an "okay swimmer."
Mrs. Rockfeld's body was never found in spite of on
extensive and intensive search by sea and air for several
days after she disappeared. The 14-foot boat which Dr.
Rockfeld said he and his wife abandoned is also still
missing. Shortly after the incident, Sollie Small, father
of Mrs. Rockfeld and president of the Coffee-Mat Corp.,
offered a $10,000 reward for Ihe recovery of her body and
a $1,500 reward for Ihe recover)' of the boat which most
marine experts agree was unsinkable.
Also presenting testimony to the grand jury Thursday
were Bruce and Edith Melvin, of Sweetwaler, Fla., (west
of Miami) who were the first two persons to find Dr.
Rockfeld on a sandbar leading from Round Key in the
Ten Thousand Islands (he morning following the alleged
In previous statements obtained from the Melvins they
told the Daily News and other investigators that Dr.
Rockfeld was first spotted by Mrs. Melvin early Sunday
morning on Dec. 17 when she left her camp on an island
adjacent to Round Key and "went out to take a look at the
She said she saw what first appeared to be a "stump"
on the sandbar but when she noticed it moving she called
and awoke her husband who verified her belief that jt
was a man.
Mrs. Melvin said she shouted to the man and waved a
piece of red cloth to attract his attention while her
(Continued on Page 3A)

husband launched their boat in order to reach the site
where the man was apparently marooned.
Upon his arrival at the Melvin camp, Mrs. Melvin said,
she offered the doctor a cup of Mack coffee, thinking he
would need it after being exposed to the cold and water
for 19 hours but he told her he preferred it with "cream
and sugar." She said she also offered him some sausage
which she had prepared for breakfast but he refused it
"because of his religion."

Others who testified were Dick Orlando, at that time
dockmaster at the Remuda Ranch Estates where the
couple had stayed overnight and rented the boat about
noon on the Saturday during which Mrs. Rockfeld
disappeared. He had said in previous testimony to
investigators that Mrs. Rockfeld had objected to the boat
ride and asked him just prior to her departure in the boat
with her husband, "Dick, if we are not back in a couple
of hours, please God come look for me."

Orlando, a former paratrooper, had stated just after
the incident occurred that he had warned the doctor of
impending weather conditions and advised him about
taking the boat out because of the strong winds and low
temperature, then in the 40's.
Also providing information on the case to the grand
jury were sheriff's deputies Jim Covington and Bert
Morris, both of whom have worked with other investigators
from the sheriff's department and the State Attorney's
office for more than a year on the investigation of
the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Rockfeld's disappearance.
Dr. Rockfeld, in a motion before a New Jersey court to
have his wife delcared legally dead, which was granted
told the court at that time that he and his wife abandoned
the boat after an engine bracket holding the 9'/2-
horsepower Mercury motor to the boat's transom broke
and caused the boat to drift into the open gulf after
traversing more than a mile of tortuous channels through
the Ten Thousand Islands.
He said he and his wife, finally despairing of obtaining
help and unable to maneuver the boat, went overboard,
at his urging, in an attempt to swim to shore.
According to tne doctor's own testimony, his wife was
unable to make any headway against the wind and waves
and after she "nodded" her head to him he left her in the
water and tried to reach land himself for assistance.
He estimated the time that they abandoned the boat as
being about 2 p.m. "by the sun."
Several hours later, he said, after dark, he crawled
ashore on an island with a sandy shore and a clump of
He told investigators that because of his fatigue, he
was unable to perform any further search for assistance
and dug a hole in the sand and covered himself with a
picnic table he found on the island. He was discovered
the next morning by the Melvins and the search for his
wife began.
Investigators said they were unable' to find the picnic
table which the doctor claimed he used for protection
from the elements.
Others expected to provide testimony today are several
fishermen and professional charter guides familiar with
the area who were boating on that day.
The presentation of the case is being made to the grand
jury by State Attorney Joseph P. D'Alessandro, assisted
by Assistant State Attorney Robert Hagaman.
'Arnold Stream, representing the missing woman's
family, said he saw Dr. Rockfeld Wednesday afternoon in
the lobby of the Beach Club Hotel in Naples but was
unable to attract his attention. D'Ale'ssandro said it was
his first impression that Dr. Rockfeld along with his
attorney Theodore Geiser of- New York would make a
voluntary appearance before the grand jury but he has
been unable to establish that belief in the past few days
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:08 PM
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Starless Starless is offline
Miss Killjoy
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 19,761
Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

They never found her ???
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

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Old 10-05-2009, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Linda Small Rockfeld - Heiress Missing 1972

Finally, found a picture of her!

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