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Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Prime Suspect Identified in Sarah Fox Murder Investigation

Sarah Fox
Sarah Fox

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has identified Dimitri Sheinman, 39, the married father of a 3-year-old as the No. 1 suspect in the murder of the Juilliard drama student. The NY Post first reported this yesterday. "He's the number one suspect," Morgenthau said. "But there's not enough evidence to convict him."

Fox vanished on May 19, 2004 after leaving her home in workout clothes, possibly for a run in nearby Inwood Hill Park. Sarah Fox's strangled, nude body was discovered on May 25, 2004, in a secluded wooded area of Manhattan's Inwood Hill Park.

Dimitri Sheinman
Dimitri Sheinman

Here is some information about Mr. Sheinman:
  • He provided "severely intimate" details or "visions" as he called them of the case that were not public during a 12 hour interview with police at the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights.

  • The details included the fact that a stick was found wedged between Fox's legs near her crotch.

  • He also described the position of the body: Fox was left nude, her clothes missing, with hands by her side, feet slightly apart almost in a state of repose on a ledge above a wooded running path.

  • Sheinman also talked about a specific rib injury Fox suffered.

  • He said whoever killed Fox took her clothes, which he also described. The clothes including her Walkman were stuffed into a white canvas bag with the word "Brunswick" on it.

  • He lives with his architect wife and 3-year-old daughter near the corner of Seaman Avenue and 218th Street, a block east of scenic Inwood Hill Park that abuts the Hudson River.

  • Sheinman moved to the U.S. from Moscow at age 11.

  • Sheinman is known for having confrontations with people over his habit of letting his large Rhodesian Ridgeback dog roam off the leash in Inwood Hill Park.

  • Mr. Sheinman was at home alone the day of Fox's disappearance. All the rest of his family had gone to Chicago.

A neighbor said:
"I would trust him with my son," ... "He has keys to my apartment. He's an extremely intuitive and extremely emotionally intelligent man. The police should look elsewhere. He is extremely well-liked."

"He was trying to help the investigation and they turned it completely around on him," ... "It's an extremely horrible thing to have happened."
A search warrant of Sheinman's three co-op apartments that overlook the park, his 1996 Jeep Cherokee, and the basement of his building was executed based on his statements to the police and since he lives near where Sarah Fox lived. Detectives seized a laptop, documents, and some hard-bound diaries. One of the diaries had a description of a girl in a park surrounded by flowers that mirrored the Fox crime scene. This has been deemed only circumstantial evidence, but not conclusive.

One official said that while Mr. Sheinman "looks good" to some of those involved in the investigation, others are less sure.

Pablo Guzman of WCBS-TV Channel 2 in New York first reported in an "exclusive" Special Feature leading off the 11:00 pm news on Wednesday, Dec. 1st, that police had identified a prime suspect in the Sarah Fox murder. But he didn't name the suspect. The NY Post was the first media source to identify Dimitri Sheinman as the prime suspect in the Fox case.

Given what just happened in Wichita, KS recently regarding the false alarm over the BTK (Bind-Torture-Kill) suspect it's probably wise to wait for more facts.

JUILLIARD-SLAY SUSPECT RAGES [New York Post, Dec. 7, 2004]
COPS' PROBE OF JUILLIARD GAL'S SLAY ZEROING IN ON 'HELPER' [New York Post, Dec. 6, 2004 - Exclusive]
'No. 1 Sarah suspect' [Daily News, Dec. 7, 2004]
Suspect Emerges in Inwood Murder Case [NY Times, Dec. 7, 2004]
DA identifies murder suspect [Newsday, Dec. 6, 2004]
New Info In The Sarah Fox Murder Probe [cbsnewyork.com, Dec. 6, 2004]
Sarah Fox Fund [to support a scholarship in her name and provide money for a reward for information leading to the arrest of her killer]

Johnsville News coverage:
Prime Suspect Identified by Police in Sarah Fox Murder Case [Dec. 2, 2004]
Sarah Fox murder case grows cold and reward is raised [Nov. 21, 2004]
Sarah Fox Murder Mystery Update [June 9, 2004]
Juilliard Student Murder Mystery - Sarah Fox [May 28, 2004]

update Dec. 9, 2004: The NY Post is going after Mr. Sheinman in a story today. They report: "Tales of scary confrontations with Sheinman, 39, and his dog are legion" in the Inwood Hill Park neighborhood.