The police bulletin described the kidnapper this way: White male, in his fifties, 5 feet 8 inches, 180-200 pounds, stocky build, wearing glasses with silver rims. He wore dark clothes and a baseball cap as he entered the house at 1101 88th St. through an unlocked patio door in the pre-dawn dark.
The intruder bound Aaron Goldman and his wife, Sally, and gagged them with tape but he checked that Sallys bindings werent too tight, and made sure she could breathe. Danny also was tied up. The intruder seemed to know about his victims, calling Dannys parents by their first names.
He didnt ransack the house like a burglar would do, Aaron Goldman told a reporter a few months after the kidnapping. He showed a feeling of gentleness.
He also showed purpose: He was expecting to find $10,000 in cash. Dont be frightened or scream. You know what I am here for, the intruder said, according to police records.
Goldman told the heavyset man that there was no money in the house, but he offered to write him a check.
Why would the intruder think there was cash in the house? Novack has a theory: Dannys mother feared that Danny, turning 18 the next day, would get drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. Novack believes the Goldmans may have socked away cash to set their son up outside the country or at least thats what the burglar believed.
But when he found no money, the intruder took Danny away at gunpoint, telling his parents to have $25,000 ready by that evening. They drove off in Dannys car, which was found hours later several blocks away on Harding Avenue.
The days and weeks that followed became a surreal vigil. Detectives with the Dade County Sheriffs Office (now the Miami-Dade Police Department) and the FBI camped in the Goldmans front yard daily, along with radio, television and newspaper reporters, waiting for any word from the kidnapper.
Also on the scene: 17-year-old Sharon Lloyd, who shared photos of Danny with reporters and brought bologna sandwiches for the cops.
Dannys parents appeared on television to make a public plea to the kidnapper, offering the $25,000 ransom, no questions asked. Just get the word to us, and we will do anything you and your representative directs, they said in an open letter to the kidnapper. You may contact us through the mail, through a clergyman, through an attorney or by direct telephone contact but please let us hear from you immediately.
The phone instead became a torment. It would ring 20, 25 times a day but never the kidnapper. Often there were crank callers; other times, creepy silence. Con artists from Boca Raton and St. Petersburg masquerading as the kidnapper set up meetings to pick up the ransom; both were arrested.
By May 1966, the FBI had packed up its command post at the Goldman house. The Goldmans even offered a minor reward for the return of their sons body too high a price, they worried, would give the kidnapper a reason to kill Danny if he was still alive.
There was no shortage of suspects, or theories. Aaron Goldman later said that Dade County sheriffs detectives first believed Danny had run away, and the abduction was a ruse. But the FBI treated the case as a serious kidnapping from the start, chasing tips and leads from Florida to Texas.