Sandra Fink Goodman

Sandra Lynn Fink Goodman: 7/27/47-5/25/03

Sandra ("Sandy") was born in Durham, NC to Sam Rachmil and Jeannette Cohen Fink on July 27, 1947. Sandy was born a beautiful, healthy, normal, active and happy child. She had an excellent memory and used to run around the house reciting all the nursery rhymes and singing songs that mother taught her. When Sandy was 2 years old, she became seriously ill with colitis. Her body temperature spiked to 105 degrees and stayed there for several days. Looking back, Mother and Daddy, upon the advice of the family pediatrician, should have possibly placed Sandy in the hospital. In those days people were afraid of hospitals. Therefore, Sandy was treated at home. To reduce her high fever, my parents bathed her in tepid water in the tub which caused Sandy to cry loudly. Finally the fever broke and Sandy recovered. Unfortunately she was never the same. No longer did she recite all the nursery rhymes and songs she had learned nor was she the happy-go-lucky child she had once been. Sandy entered kindergarten and then first grade. At the beginning of first grade the teacher frequently called my mother to pick up Sandy from school because she had for no reason started to run a fever. In the safe environment of her home the fever disappeared. Sandy had a difficult time learning even in first grade and hated going to school throughout her elementary and then high school years. Daily, my determined Mother worked with Sandy so she could learn all that was expected of her throughout the years. Sometime when Sandy was about in the fourth grade, my parents had her tested. The results showed that Sandy was mildly retarded. Because of my Mother's devotion, patience, determination and skills to teach any child, Sandy learned to read, write and do very simple math. When Sandy was 9 years old, she started taking piano lessons. Playing classical music was too difficult for her but she learned to play popular music quite well. My mother even taught her how to drive at car when she was 16. She graduated from high school with her own age group in 1965.

Throughout her younger years, even though schooling was difficult for her, Sandy learned how to do easy sewing/mending, embroidery, housekeeping and cooking from my mother. She loved looking well-groomed and wore fashionable, attractive clothes. After high school graduation, with mother's assistance, Sandy earned a nurses' aide certificate and was employed off and on by one of the hospitals nearby. Occasionally, she also worked as a teacher's aide with 3 and 4 year old children who were in a private nursery school.

On Feb. 4, 1973 Sandy married Morris Goodman who came from Virginia. The couple moved to Virginia Beach where Morris was a successful insurance salesman and Sandy became a housewife. Being a housewife was perfect for Sandy. Morris and Sandy frequently entertained his clients at their immaculately kept home. Sandy became a very good cook and taught herself how to knit. She made sweaters, scarves, gloves and blankets. During their married years they never had any children. Throughout their married years together, Sandy continued playing the latest popular music on her piano which Mother and Dad has given her. When they had been married 10 years, Morris was flying in his private airplane and crashed near the airport after hitting a power line. He was severely injured. Eventually with the assistance of a stimulator attached to his waist, Morris regained the ability to walk. After 12 years, Sandy and Morris divorced. Sandy remained in Virginia Beach for a few years after the divorce and worked off and on as a telemarketer.

A few years passed and Sandy started living with a man she met. He traveled in the south with a company that sold time shares in resort areas. Never marrying this man, Sandy followed him where ever he traveled. They lived for about a year or two in each of the cities of Kodak, TN, Hilton Head, SC, Williamsburg, VA and eventually to a suburb of Utica, NY. The man died of cancer in January 2003 and Sandy remained where they were living. On January 30, 2003, she was committed to the psychiatric unit of a hospital in Utica and was diagnosed as being mildly retarded with evidence of suffering from bipolar disorder. Her physician and social worker decided that she was incapable of ever living by herself. She was then transferred to a privately-owned home where patients would have care and supervision. The woman who ran the home somehow figured that she could forge Sandy's signature and cash the monthly checks which Sandy received from the trust that our father set up for her. At this time both my mother and I lost touch with Sandy. She never responded to my letters and she no longer called my mother. Two years went by before a bank officer in Durham noticed that all of Sandy's checks were being forged by the woman who was operating the care facility where Sandy was living. The Durham, NC bank alerted the Utica police who started an investigation. It was discovered that the owner and operator of the private care facility had bludgeoned Sandy to death with a hammer to her head. Then the woman buried Sandy in the backyard of the facility. Sandy's remains were identified by matching the DNA from her remains to my mother's DNA. Other graves were also found at the same time in the same backyard. From what was determined by the coroner's report, Sandra Lynn Fink Goodman was killed on May 25, 2003. She was 55 years old at the time of her death.