Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Glamorous Life and Grisly Death of Ben Novack Jr.

The Other Suspects

Joel Gonzalez
Joel Gonzalez

In July, the U.S. Attorney's office also named additional suspects: Joel Gonzalez and Denis Ramirez. Ramirez had fathered two of Veliz's grandchildren. In the indictment, the government described Ramirez as the man who drove Gonzalez and an unnamed conspirator to the hotel on July 10, two days before the murder, to scout the hotel again. Ramirez, the government contended, also drove them to the hotel on the day of the crime. They were let into the room by Novack, who gave them a pillow to suffocate her husband.

The day after the announcement, Denis Ramirez turned himself in. Over six months later, Ramirez entered a guilty plea to the charges of domestic violence and conspiracy. He confirmed that he had driven the fifth, unnamed conspirator and Gonzalez to the crime scene.

That fifth person eventually turned out to be Alejandro Gutierrez-Garcia, 33, and, because his name had not appeared in any of the court documents, it was believed he had been cooperating with authorities. The website, described the Nicaraguan: "a dragon tattoo on his right arm and a lazy right eye that gives him a particularly sinister look." The website reported that he had pleaded guilty and had been cooperating with authorities.

According to America's Most Wanted, a break in the case came via an anonymous letter mailed to the Miami Springs Police Department. The police told AMW that they believed the letter-writer was a religious person, who might have been a family member, who had knowledge of the crime.

Rye Brook police told The Miami Herald, "What we found interesting in the letter is there were names in it at the time we were not aware of, and as we did our own investigation, we found that information to be true.'' The letter also urged the investigators to look closer at Bernice Novack's death.


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