Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Disappearance of Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone

'It May Never Be Solved'

As the months have passed, the families of Danielle and Richard have grown impatient and irritable.  Neither side believes that Danielle and Richard were the victims of a random attack.  But if one of them was targeted, then that person inadvertently put the other one in jeopardy.  Desperate to find out who was responsible, the families eventually turned on one another.  Harsh words were exchanged, and raw emotions came to the surface.  People on Danielle's side felt that no matter what had happened to the couple, Richard should have done something to protect Danielle.  But people on  Richard's side couldn't help feeling that Joe Imbo was somehow involved and that Danielle's family was standing up for him simply because he was the father of Danielle's child.  Rumors began to circulate that the two families were bitterly at odds, and though they had known one another for years and gone through this horrendous experience together, they were no longer speaking.

Danielle's brother, John Ottobre, confirms that his family and the Petrone family have stopped communicating, but he denies that there's any animosity between the families.  "There's no feuding," he said.  "We just don't speak." Their differences stem from their outlooks on the situation.  The Ottobre family wants to believe that Danielle is alive.  "She's either going to come home or she's not," John Ottobre said.  "We'll continue to hope and pray that she will."

Richard's family is not as hopeful.  According to Richard's friend Anthony Valentino, "They presume that he's dead."

Marge Petrone maintains that Joe Imbo is involved in the disappearance.  She characterized him as having been "mentally abusive" in his marriage to Danielle and said that he had been secretly intercepting Danielle's phone messages during their separation.  She also dismissed the possibility that her son could be responsible for Danielle's disappearance, saying that Richard was incapable of doing such a thing.

Veteran reporter and novelist Scott Flander, author of "Sons of the City" and "Four to Midnight," has been covering this story from the beginning.  "I've never seen anything like this in 25 years," he said.  Like many others, he doesn't believe that the couple just ran off.  "Something happened to them," he said.  As the anniversary of the disappearance approaches, he doubts that the police will ever find out what happened to them.  "It may never be solved," he said regretfully.  "The more time that passes, the greater the chances of that."

The police and the FBI continue to search.


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