Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Glamorous Life and Grisly Death of Ben Novack Jr.

The Investigation Begins

Immediately after the murder, the police focused their investigation on Narcy Novack. For one thing, the timing could not be ignored. Police realized the keycard lock had not been used by anyone else after she'd left. It led the police to believe that Narcy Novack let the murderers into the room.

Ben Novack Jr.
Ben Novack Jr.

The more she talked, the less credible she was. Narcy Novack, who spoke to police for over 12 hours immediately following the crime, told police that her husband was a "hard person," "a strong businessman, [who] has a tendency to make people angry." Her statements seemed almost calculated to imply that Novack Jr. was not well-liked and had numerous enemies. In the course of his career, it was true that Novack Jr. had frequently butted heads with different city governments, for instance, squaring off with the city of Pittsburgh over one of his Amway conventions. (Since the company has been likened to a pyramid scheme by its detractors, it has often been the subject of controversy.)

And Novack famously squabbled with officials closer to home. Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau described Ben, according to The Miami Herald, as an "aggressive person. He wanted to make sure everyone was aware of his issues."

His wife pointed out his difficult personality when she talked to the police; a search warrant noted: "In particular, her husband has been hanging out and doing business with weird people."

Novack, like many millionaires, had eccentric interests and was particularly noted for his large Batman comic book collection One of those weird people with whom Ben had been dealing, according to Narcy Novack's statement to investigators, was a comic book collector with whom her husband had been dealing who had come to their Fort Lauderdale house and became upset during the price negotiation of a comic book — especially since she had "'retrieved a 'bag' of cash and provided the money to her husband who in turn gave it to the unknown comic book collector who left the house with the cash."

But Narcy's stories weren't sitting well with investigators. They conducted a polygraph test of the widow the day after the murder and noted that she "showed indications of deception when questioned pertaining to her knowledge of this homicide."

Still, they didn't arrest or charge her. That would come later.


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