Four years ago someone emptied a semi-automatic handgun into an on-duty Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy.
The slaying of Sgt. Chris Reyka, a Wellington resident, is arguably Broward County’s most high-profile unsolved murder of the last five years. Reyka, 51, was gunned down on Aug. 10, 2007, in the parking lot outside the Walgreens in Pompano Beach.
Although police have solved about 70 percent of Broward’s slayings over the last five years – a clearance rate that exceeds the national average of 66 percent – the number of killings that lack closure is staggering.
Along with Reyka’s, there are more than 115 in Broward alone, from August 2006 to the present.
The situation is similar in part of Palm Beach County, where detectives in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office have solved about 70 percent of the killings reported in the last five years but still have more than 80 that remain unsolved.
“They don’t ever just go away,” Fort Lauderdale police homicide Detective James Jaggers said of the unsolved killings. “We never give up on them.”
Even as the cases pile up year after year, detectives keep the files nearby so they have the information on hand to compare against new cases and new evidence, such as guns collected from crime scenes, Jaggers said.
“The older it gets, the more difficult it becomes, but sometimes people come forward years later,” he said.
In the Reyka investigation, Broward Sheriff’s detectives received new information earlier this year after the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” re-aired the case twice.
“We’re working on it every single day,” said Broward Sherif Al Lamberti, adding that the goal is to have an air-tight case against a suspect or suspects. “We’re not quite there yet,” he said.
In Palm Beach County, two of the most high-profile cases happened months apart in 2007 and were at one point considered to be connected. Detectives have since determined that they were not.
In March 2007 Randi Gorenberg’s body was dumped in broad daylight out of her Mercedes west of Delray Beach.
Gorenberg, 52, was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Town Center mall in Boca Raton on March 23, 2007, near the Neiman-Marcus store at about 1:16 p.m.
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