Canadian snowbirds found murdered in Hallandale Beach condo

A neighbor became suspicious when the couple did not show up for a lunch date.

01/11/2013 10:40 AM

01/11/2013 6:10 PM

A Canadian couple who spent their winters in South Florida were found dead inside their Hallandale Beach condominium Thursday night.

Their deaths are being investigated as a double homicide — not a murder-suicide — said Captain Sonia Quinones with the Hallandale Beach Police Department.

The couple were identified as David Pichosky, 71 and Rochelle Wise, 66.

Neighbors described the Toronto couple as “very warm” and friendly.

“They were very happy together,” said Amparo Rabin, who knew them well. “It was a pleasure to say hello to them every morning.”

Pichosky and Wise, who married about four years ago, were very religious and could be seen walking to temple every Friday night, neighbors said.

Wise was the founding director of the Crestwood Valley Day Camp near Toronto. She remained in that position until her retirement in 2005. She was also a teacher at the Bialik Hebrew Day School.

“Rochelle was a selfless individual who took a genuine interest in the lives of everyone she came across,’’camp directors Eric Shendelman and Bobby Freeman wrote in a statement. “With limitless energy, unwavering courage and a passion for children she was an inspiration to a generation kids.”

Pichosky was a retired accountant, according to the Canadian media.

On Friday morning, the Venetian Park neighborhood where they lived was blocked off by yellow crime tape. The area, on the 900 block of Northeast 25th Avenue just off Three Island Boulevard, rarely has any police presence except for a false alarm going off, residents say.

“I've never been concerned here,” said Bernie Pollack, a snowbird from Quebec. He said about half of the community is filled with people who only live there half of the time. “It’s always quiet.”

Last year, Hallandale Beach reported four murders, said Quinones.

Just 11 days into the new year, and the city is already investigating two.

“It’s the first and hopefully the last,” she said.

The cause of death and motive are under investigation, Quinones said. The Broward Sheriff’s Office and Hallandale Beach police are both involved.

The couple were discovered inside their unit about 6:20 p.m. by a concerned neighbor.

Pichosky and Wise were supposed to have lunch with the neighbor on Wednesday, but never showed up, Quinones said. And repeated phone calls to the couple went unanswered.

On Thursday, the neighbor, who had a key to their unit, went to check on them and found the their bodies.

Neighbor Gloria Gross said she often saw the couple, with Wise in a big floppy hat, walking in the morning. The couple had a lot of visitors during the holidays, Gross said.

Elyse Arena, who lives there year round, said she has known Pichosky for many years. She said Pichosky, then a widow, married Wise about four years ago.

“They were trim and fit, and looked young and happy,” she said. “They were lovely, lovely people.”

Miami Herald staff writer Luisa Yanez contributed to this report.

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