Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ruthann Aron: A Deadly Campaign


Offices of the Montgomery County Planning Commission
Offices of the Montgomery County Planning Commission

In August 1994, just months into her campaign, Ruthann's father was found brutally murdered. The body of David Greenzweig, 77, was found face down in a pool of blood in the basement of his Fallsburg, New York home, which he had been renovating. His "skull had been crushed by a handyman's pipe wrench and his head wrapped like a mummy's in masking tape," Karl Vick reported for The Washington Post. Investigators also discovered that several hundred dollars from his wallet and his 1984 Cadillac were stolen.

As soon as Ruthann learned of her father's death, her campaign came to an abrupt stop. She immediately rushed to the small upstate town where she grew up to attend the funeral. Vick reported that during the ceremony, Ruthann "was the picture of poise—well dressed and polite." It surprised some that she didn't get involved in the investigation into her father's death, which later revealed that a handyman and a drifter were responsible for the grisly murder.

Ruthann's disinterest in the investigation likely stemmed from the fact that she and her father "hated each other," Dominick Dunn reported in his Court TV series Power, Privilege and Justice. In fact, the feelings between the two were so hostile that Ruthann's father specifically stipulated in his will that he wanted to leave "absolutely nothing" for his daughter who had "been cruel" to him and treated him "like a dog," Paul Duggan and Manual Perez-Rivas of The Washington Post quoted Greenzweig's lawyer Leon Greenberg as saying.

At the time of his death, it was unclear what events actually sparked the disdain Ruthann's father felt for her. What was known was that since his divorce from Ruthann's mother in 1982, contact between Ruthann and her father slowly diminished until it eventually ceased altogether. Her relationship with her brother Neil also distanced over time.

Conversely, Ruthann and her mother had a very good relationship. Vick reported that the mother and daughter shared an "uncommon closeness," speaking on the phone "as many as a half dozen times a day." Ruthann's mother would be her primary source of social support throughout most of her life and she would help Ruthann through some of her darker days that were yet to come.

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