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Events in the disappearance of Sabrina Aisenberg

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 10, 1999

BEFORE THE DISAPPEARANCE: Steve Aisenberg plays with his youngest daughter, Sabrina. [Family photo]

Nov. 24: Marlene Aisenberg calls 911 to report her 5-month-old daughter, Sabrina, disappeared from her crib between midnight and 6:42 a.m.

Nov. 25: The FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement join the investigation as Hillsborough sheriff's divers search a pond behind the Bloomingdale subdivision where the Aisenbergs had lived since 1991. Deputies also use dogs to search woods near the house but found no trace of the baby.

Nov. 26: After intense questioning by FBI agents and sheriff's detectives, the Aisenbergs hire prominent Tampa defense lawyer Barry Cohen. They stop talking to authorities about the night Sabrina disappeared.

Exerpts from the indictment
Events in the disappearance of Sabrina Aisenberg
People involved
Gallery of photos
Archive of coverage
Main story
Dec. 1: Stan Sadowsky and Elaine Weinberger, Sabrina's maternal grandfather and aunt, appear on CNN's Larry King Live to talk about Sabrina's disappearance.

Dec. 2: Dateline NBC airs a report about the case, with the storyline that many in the Tampa Bay area suspect the Aisenbergs killed their baby.

Dec. 11: Sheriff's officials combed the banks and a 2-mile stretch of the Alafia River but find no trace of Sabrina. A tip generated from the television show America's Most Wanted focuses authorities' interest on a boat ramp on the river.

Dec. 18: Hillsborough sheriff's deputies and officials from several other counties finish canvassing grounds and eight ponds in a 5-mile radius of the Aisenberg's Bloomingdale home.

Dec. 23: In a prepared speech delivered at Cohen's downtown Tampa office, Marlene and Steve Aisenberg ask whoever had 6-month-old Sabrina to return her to her family. That night, the indictment alleges, they talk about how he killed Sabrina and how they need to cover it up.


Jan. 9: After shunning the media for almost six weeks after their baby vanished, the Aisenbergs begin a media tour with an interview with the Times. In the days that followed, they appeared on Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, Today, Oprah and Larry King Live.

Outdoor System Advertising workers install a billboard for missing Sabrina Aisenberg at the corner of Marion and Scott Streets facing I-275 traffic. [Times files, 1997: Tony Lopez]

Jan. 11: The indictment alleges the Aisenbergs discuss concerns that she might be in trouble because of a timeline they prepared for their attorney.

Jan. 22: Hillsborough sheriff's investigators launch an unusual public counterattack, suggesting at a news conference that they had serious suspicions about the Aisenbergs. Despite an investigation so broad it has encompassed 31 states, 702 leads and more than 1,200 interviews, "we still come back to the community, we still come back to Hillsborough County," said sheriff's Maj. Gary Terry.

Jan. 27: Investigators question 11 friends and neighbors about the Aisenbergs' behavior toward their children and each other.

Feb. 11: The Aisenbergs appear before a federal grand jury investigating Sabrina's disappearance. Both Aisenbergs emerge from their separate trips into the grand jury chambers within 15 minutes.


JAN. 13, 1998: The Aisenbergs appear on MSNBC's news program to discuss the disappearance of Sabrina. [Times photo: Thomas M. Goethe]
April 2: Sabrina's disappearance is featured on the CBS TV program Unsolved Mysteries.

Early May: A neighbor of the Aisenbergs said that Steve Aisenberg had moved back to his home state of Maryland and that his wife and children planned to follow.

Sept. 9: A federal grand jury indicts Sabrina's parents on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

Compiled by Times researcher John Martin.

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