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Sabrina Aisenberg

A five-month-old infant is kidnapped from her crib.


 Sabrina Aisenberg

Missing:

Gender: Female
DOB: 6/27/97
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown
Defining Characteristics: Has several marks in the shape of the letter "Y" below her right shoulder
Remarks: Last seen 11/24/97


Age Progressed Photo: Sabrina, 10


Steve & Marlene Aisenberg

CASE DETAILS


Sabrina was kidnapped

According to Marlene Aisenberg, she got up shortly after 6 A.M. on November 24, 1997 , and went into her kitchen:

"I noticed the laundry room door to the garage is opened and I'm like, 'Whoa, what's that doing open?' And I just ran to the first bedroom and I look in Sabrina's crib and she was gone. And I was just, like, you know, I was hysterical. 'Steve, Sabrina's missing! Sabrina's gone!'"

Steve and Marlene Aisenberg's third child, five month-old Sabrina, had vanished from her own crib. The Aisenberg home, located in a suburb of Tampa, Florida, became an instant crime scene. According to Marty Rosen, a journalist who covered the story for St. Petersburg Times, news of the kidnapping sent shock waves through the local community:

"This frightened a lot of people, terrified a lot of young parents. It was chilling for people who lived in that community. It was a quiet, safe, out-of-the-way place. And then a baby disappears."


Investigators found no sign of forced entry

The Aisenbergs had left their garage door open overnight.   The interior door may also have been left unlocked. But there was no sign of an intruder. Then, the investigation took a sudden, unexpected turn. Marlene and her husband became prime suspects.  

Marlene Aisenberg says she was floored by the accusation:

"'To me, it was the most unbelievable thing I could have ever heard. And, I was like, 'I have no idea where Sabrina is, I have no idea who took her. That's why you're here.   Help.' You know, 'Find her.'"

Deputies removed several items from the Aisenberg home, including Sabrina's crib and bedding. They were sent to the FBI lab for analysis. As the search for baby Sabrina continued, the Aisenbergs taped a public appeal, pleading for her return. The plea might have inspired sympathy for Steve and Marlene, but, according to Marty Rosen, their demeanor made people suspicious. The day after Sabrina vanished, the media taped the Aisenbergs smiling as they left their home:

"A lot of people in the community saw that clip and saw Steve smile, and they saw Marlene with a quick flash of a smile, and they jumped to conclusions.   They said, 'Why would these people be smiling? There must be something wrong here.' Some people felt they were guilty of something. Some people felt that they were involved in some way in Sabrina's disappearance."


Sabrina’s parents took a polygraph test

Steve and Marlene voluntarily took polygraph tests.   In Marlene's case, she says the results were apparently a matter of debate:

"They told me it was inconclusive. And they told me that they expected it to be that because I was hysterical and, you know, everything.   And my baby's gone, and you know, they would expect that."  

The sheriff's office wouldn't say whether she passed or failed. Shortly after Sabrina disappeared, the Aisenbergs hired an attorney.   To some, it was just another sign of their guilt. But Marlene Aisenberg said the police left them no choice:  

"When the police sit across from you and say, 'We believe you know where your daughter is and we believe you know who has her,' there's a good reason to get an attorney."  

Months passed with no sign of baby Sabrina. According to Marty Rosen, the police said that they would soon be laying out their case against the Aisenbergs:

"The police held several press conferences fairly early on in the case and told the reporters that, in fact, they had evidence and that we should just hang on. That they were processing the evidence and that it would be forthcoming. And I've not seen any of that evidence to date."


The community was alarmed by her disappearance

Lt. Greg Brown of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office:

"Unfortunately, most of the leads bring us back to a dead end, and that brings us back to this community. And we feel that the answers to this crime are within this community.   Our policy has always been that we don't list people as a suspect unless we have enough to charge them.   We have not ruled the Aisenbergs out. They have failed to assist us in some ways, and it makes it more difficult to rule them out as having some involvement in the case."

Marlene Aisenberg:

"I believe that somebody came into our home and just took her. It had to be someone who wanted a baby so bad and they couldn't have one themselves or they needed money so bad that they would want to sell her."

Steve Aisenberg:

"It could be that somebody just watched Marlene and I, and saw our habits of occasionally leaving the garage open and knew we had a baby. Or, it could have been somebody that knew us casually and then through others knew our habits.   So it, you know, anything is just pure speculation."


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season six with Dennis Farina and coming soon with Robert Stack. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina.

 

Comments

Steven's picture

It wouldn't make much sence if the parents were the ones who wanted their baby gone. They already had children they didn't have anything against the 3rd child. But they should know its normal for the police to suspect them when they have no evidence or any leads to suggest something else.

ArleneHeed's picture

I believe there was evidence that the husband/father was using drugs the night of the baby's disappearance.

speculation doesn't equal truth's picture

There are only some accusations of drug use. They were not known drug users or party people.

SolveTheMystery's picture

I remember watching a dateline episode years ago and the day the baby went missing police were tapping and recording incoming phone calls to their home in case a kidnapper with a ransom was to call..Very understandable procedure...Well on a recording only 27 hours after the baby goes missing, the father is on a recorded phone call talking to his brother. Then the line beeps indicating someone's is calling but he didn't answer the call. The line beeped several more times and he just continued talking...Now why would u not answer this other line when it could possibly be the person who supposedly kidnapped your infant daughter? I think his excuse when confronted by police was that he never heard the beeps but u can clearly hear them on this recording. I also thought it was crazy he was even taking a chance to tie up the phone line to talk to his brother. If it were me I would get on that phone unless it was ringing out of fear I would miss a call from the sick individuals who supposedly came into the house and took my 5 month old daughter. I remember bits and pieces from this case but I do remember feeling they weren't being 100 with the police.. another thing that struck me as odd is that when the mother Marlene calls police to report the baby missing, the 911 dispatcher asks is there anyone else in the house with you and the mother says yes, my husband and 2 other kids..The dispatcher asks are your 2 other children okay and safe and the mother Marlene says I don't know let me check..And she checks as she's on the phone with 911 and says yes they are in their beds. Again, this is just me but if I had 3 children, and I noticed that one of them was missing out of their bed in the morning, the first thing I'm going to do is run to my other children's bedrooms to make sure they are there and okay!!! I mean wouldn't you? That also struck me as so odd. Tell me what u think...

Love113014's picture

Yes that is interesting, so she sees the door open and then finds Sabrina missing and hadn't even checked on the other kids ? That is weird

Anonymous's picture

Where did you get that info and what proof is there of that? Also when you say drugs thats loaded. If you're willing to put this out there be specific about the facts. Is this a fact? I have no skin in this game i am a drug and alcohol counsellor in nz. I just saw this and it piqued my interest. Thank you.

Kim Howell's picture

U ought to be charged with slander. There is no evidence or knowledge that they ever used drugs. U should be ashamed of yourself.

SHANNA's picture

I agree...

Barb's picture

Does anyone know that the neighbors down the street had a window that was broken on the same night. That window was in the baby's nursery. Thankfully for them they baby was sleeping with mom and dad. Why wasn't that ever brought out in the news?

crystal's picture

OK....when I had my baby I made sure she slept next to our bed. Something sounds suspicious about this story. I cannot for the heart of me put my finger on it. I am looking at the parents..... one or both know something.

Sharon Parker/Waveland, IN's picture

I agree, Crystal. There's something amiss and "not Kosher" regarding the circumstances. It will be 19 yrs. this coming November since Sabrina has been missing.

KAYREK's picture

WHY WOULD YOU PUT A 5 MONTH OLD IN A CRIB DOWNSTAIRS WHERE YOU COULD NOT EVEN HEAR HER CRY, INSTEAD OF ON THE SAME FLOOR YOU SLEPT ON. OLDER CHILDREN MAYBE, BUT A 5 MONTH OLD DOWNSTAIRS FROM THE PARENTS. UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!!!

Rose's picture

I hope they find out what happened to this poor baby girl and bring her home to her family

Alyona's picture

I agree...They seem to provide too much information or speculation as to why /how she disappeared. ...I would think parents in these situations would be focused more on regret of not closing the door and appeal to find their child...and now they say :someone wanted baby/someone stole a baby. My speculation is that they indeed sold it.

KAILA's picture

U ARE CORRECT. BABY SHOULD BE RIGHT NEXT TO PARENTS!

Kim Howell's picture

Stupidity, doesn't make them guilty. Idiot

Carri's picture

To this day, I still think the Aisenbergs are guilty. I don't believe a word of their story. This whole case doesn't ring true. It's even worse than the Jonbenet Ramsey case. We're supposed to believe some random stranger who was not familiar with their house simply walked in at night, got past the dog! And snatched this baby, walked out with the baby, got past the dog again, yeah right. And made it safely away with this baby. The baby didn't cry and wake anyone up, the dog didn't bark. The kidnapper knew the entire layout of the house in the dark and was apparently friendly with the family dog. None of this sits right. The motive wasn't money, there was no ransom note or call. Sorry, I don't believe someone simply wanted the baby and targeted their house. People who want a child enough to kidnap one will usually go for a playground or trying to snatch a child after school or even out of a hospital. No one is going to simply cruise a neighborhood, pick a house they are not familiar with, and go into it in the dark. The whole thing reeks. I don't believe the parents at all.

Malini's picture

I heard the 48 hours story.. I totally agree with ur conclusion. I feel one of the family members killed the baby accidentally, and the whole thing was a cover up for that. The MOST important point to note was..that the dog never barked.

I cud also hear the conversation faintly on their wiretaps n a couple of those statements matched the recordings. .

Anonymous's picture

When Marlene talks about the baby missing- and even the footage of her when the baby was initially missing- she sounds totally fake. Her tears seem fake, but when Marlene talks about the FBI pointing a gun at her- she sounds genuinely afraid. She shows genuine emotions at this point- because she is genuinely afraid. How come she didn't sound terrified when her baby was missing? I do think they killed that kid (probably accidentally) and then worried about the ramifications.

Stacy's picture

Sadly, like with the Smart case, it's almost always the parents, then it's someone close to the family. I don't think it was a stranger either which would have explained the dog and the knowledge of the house's layout.

Sharron's picture

Elizabeth Smart WAS taken by an intruder! What are you talking about?

kayden's picture

I believe they did that themselves as well. I don't believe any part of the story

Brenda's picture

Excellent points.

Sherbelee's picture

I agree. I watched the Dateline episode on this. I was continually struck by the mother smiling throughout the interviews. Even while saying things like, "I was so upset.," she smiles throughout. The father, on the other hand, just looks blasé, as if they're reading items off a grocery list. I think one of them may have accidentally killed the baby, or they did something else with the baby. All kinds of suggestions have been made, right on down to, they sold the baby to a wealthy childless Israeli couple because they had serious money problems. Whatever happened, I am convinced they know what happened to the baby.

Tina's picture

You do realize that that the Ramsey's were cleared right? Jon Benet was not killed by her parents. They probably knew the person though I think that most people, whether they realize it or not, don't want to believe that children can be snatched away in their own home by a stranger. There are other cases where someone can get in a home and gets by the dog. I just saw one on Unsolved Mysteries Yesterday. The murderer was not a close friend either. Some people just don't seem to behave the way others think they should, but that doesn't make them guilty. My gosh, can you imagine going through something so terrible, and then on top of it the court of public opinion convicts you? I would have thought after so many years baby Sabrina would have been found somewhere. I pray that she is safe wherever she is.

Theresa's picture

I had a Doberman Pincher that would have greeted any burglar. Can't count on them sometimes. perhaps a Chiwawa (sp) would be more noisy and aggressive. I always thought the baby looked abnormal and the parents couldn't deal with a disabled child.

Sevenisnumberone's picture

I kind of wondered about that myself. Some of their home videos even seem "off" in how they talk "at" her rather than "to her". You bring up a good point. To be honest, I thought that most of the clips you see of the parents, SHE is working her little fake persona every chance she gets and HE seems like he's on something. Just my 2cents

Pat's picture

Thankyou Tina. My sentiments exactly

Sevenisnumberone's picture

I totally agree with you. I think there is a dark secret in this family. Many "little" things . Just my 2cents

marquaisbobo's picture

that's easy

MEK's picture

It's one thing to have doubts about believing the parents . .
And it's another to state they are guilty, especially when there is absolutely no proof of this.
1. Just because a dog doesn't bark, doesn't mean the parents are guilty. What a leap
2. A person doesn't need to know the whole layout of a house, just use a flashlight.
3. Someone who wants a child will go for a school playground? Where did you get that idea? It's easier to walk into an unlocked house and take a child while everyone sleeps
rather than a playground with a hundred eye witnesses. Again,what a leap.
4. "When I head my child I kept them beside me". This was not your child. This was
their 3rd child and she was 5 months old. Most parents do not keep a 5 month old that
sleeps through the night in their bed with them. This child had her own crib and was
sleeping where she usually slept.
There are children taken everyday from all parts of our country and others. They are sold to others that want children. There have been many documentary and news shows about this. Look at your milk carton, read the paper and the stories of kids who found out when they were teens that they were taken / stolen.
When you look at the entire picture, the police clearly decided the parents were guilty
early on and as a result, didn't look elsewhere. They falsified wire tap information and
gave false information to the press and grand jury.
I don't know if the parents are guilty.
But what I know for sure is that no one else can be sure they're guilty either.

Trish's picture

II totally agree and to this day I believe in my heart that the parents know exactly what happened, accidental or not, they are involved. But guess we'll never know. They will have to live with the guilt.

Linda's picture

I agree, same as the mccans, something just doesn't sit right with their story. They just happened to leave their garage door open the one night a mysterious baby napper is on the hunt. Snuck in past the dog and sleeping family, got the baby they magically knew was in its crib asleep and then snuck back out. It doesn't make sense. I think something happened to the baby and they were scared about their reputation and their daycare business so they covered it up. Much like the mccans. Their reputation is too important. I feel like also there was something wrong with Sabrina, maybe some sort of development issue that they didn't want to deal with

Pat's picture

Who are you to say whose guilty? The McCanns now?? The only thing that "doesn't make sense" is your use of the word "magically"

Sevenisnumberone's picture

Linda: You hit the nail on the head with both this family and the McCanns. Look at the difference in the Baby Lisa Irwin parents and cases and the Aisenbergs and McCanns. You can tell the difference in sincerity, and that's even taking into account differing personalities. And Linda I agree with your guess that there may have been a condition or delay or handicap regarding the baby. I think they have everything to do with the disappearance of their child, as do the McCanns.

Donovan wood 's picture

i totally dont think that it makes no since

sandy's picture

MEK I agree completely. I don't lock my doors. I don't go around locking everything up. Not one piece of evidence say they are quilty. It was someone the dog knew.

Sunflower's picture

I disagree about just needing a flashlight to navigate a house you've never been in. In that situation, an intruder could have walked right into the parents' bedroom and woken them up. Someone looking to commit a crime wouldn't just walk into a home at night and wander around, hoping to see something valuable. A common thief would definitely stake out the house first, and definitely wouldn't go in when the entire family (and dog) was home. If you were planning on stealing a CHILD, I'd imagine you would want to be even more careful.

I don't know if the parents are guilty or not, but they are damn suspicious.

Tamara's picture

so what? If Im asleep you can come into my bedroom - I wont notice. Its not like the person was loud or turned on the light.. Man people think they know it all, must be so horrible for the parents

Nan210's picture

Very good points!

FSM's picture

Completely agree with Pat and MEK. Typical mob mentality to jump on the bandwagon and say the parents are guilty. You people are just bullies. How terrible to have your baby snatched and then be accused of killing her. Parents doFn't say it was random but that someone was watching, knew they left the garage indoor open and came in.

Amateur body language sleuths also irritate me. Just because someone doesn't react the way you think they should, they're guilty and as for the stupid woman who has her baby sleep next to her - you're not doing it any favours.

Astrid smith 's picture

Finally a comment which is not total assumptions. Im shocked by the assumptions people have made based on THEIR ideas or personal values. I am from new Zealand and saw various documentaries about this. Its good to see facts and also that you have not made assumptions. I have gotten past plenty of dogs in my youth so the dogs behaviour proves nothing. Ive never written on a site like this before but thank you for being factual. Its made me realise how nasty people can be to put things on line. It sort of appears this is the only facts in this thread and i have to wonder about the moderation here. A very sad case. There are many other ways to get rid of a child legally if you dont want to ot cant care for it. Also im from nz abd these cases are almost unheard of.

Jrwiki's picture

I watched this story this morning on Nancy Grace unsolved mysteries! I do believe the parent know what happend to their daughter! I do think I was probably an accident and they panicked and disposed of the body! I am with others, the dog would go nuts with someone in the house who didn't belong, come on! Like I said I don't beleive it was done on purpose, but I do beleive with my whole heart mom and dad know a whole lot more. I am not sure what the law can do now but something isn't right with this!

Jr86's picture

Mom and Dad know a lot more than they are saying!! This makes me sick, I think it was probably some freak accident, and they got scared and disposed of the remains. I hope that I am wrong, I would like nothing more than to be wrong and baby Sabrina get to come home.

Brettany's picture

I think they know more then they think they do

Victoria's picture

I cannot make up my mind about what happened with this case. I heard the 911 call and I cant usually make up my mind about a murder based on that alone but this time I still cannot determine if the parents knew anything. It sounds like such a nightmare that people would come in and take a baby, it seems so unlikely but in the end, maybe that is exactly what happened.

money 4  silence's picture

The questions that need answering are. Where was Marlene that weekend? Who was she with? Why did the investigation come to a silent halt after Pam Bondi 's fiance supposedly loaned the Aisenberg's mouthpiece $250,000. Does Scott Overbeck hold the answer to what really happened to Sabrina Paige Aisenberg?

Cher's picture

I think the parents had something to do with their daughter's death. Karma!

Grant's picture

When you plead the 5th,it sure makes you look guilty and makes people wonder what youre hiding

Maria's picture

They are definitely guilty of something - my gut feeling is it's them...doesn't matter if they already have children - sh*t happens and you just never know if maybe they did it high or by accident but whatever it is...they know...

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