Ellen Greenberg: Mysterious death of Philadelphia woman found with 19 stab wounds was a giant coverup?
The death of 27-year-old Ellen Greenberg, who was found in her locked apartment with a total of 19 stab wounds, was ruled as suicide
You may have come across several bone-chilling homicides—some cases take years to unravel while others are pretty much open-and-shut. But it's rare to see some obvious cases that appear to be obstructed or shut down by the powers that be.
Oxygen's ‘Accident, Suicide or Murder’ returned May 9 for the premiere of season 2, with the first episode focusing on the mysterious death of 27-year-old Ellen Greenberg, who was found in her locked apartment with a total of 19 stab wounds. While authorities ruled the cause of Ellen's death as suicide, her family and friends believe she was murdered.
Erica Hamilton, one of Ellen's closest friends, told producers how she was “over the moon about her engagement.” The save-the-dates for her wedding were received by family and friends just days before she tragically passed away — leaving all of them at a loss for words. To this day, they have a lot of questions that remain unanswered.
The autopsy performed on Ellen revealed 10 of the 19 stab wounds she sustained were to the back of her neck.
“It’s difficult to inflict those types of wounds on yourself,” Dr. Gregory McDonald, a forensic pathologist, admitted to producers, before adding how Ellen had multiple bruises on her body.
Her mother, Sandra Greenberg, told producers that suicide "was the farthest thing from Ellen’s world." She admitted that Ellen might have had some anxiety from her job and the upcoming wedding, but said it was nothing to be worried about.
“She was getting up and going to work every day. Functioning but stressed,” Sandra explained.
The Greenbergs began looking for answers nine years ago, when Ellen was found dead on the kitchen floor by her fiancé Samuel Goldberg.
Samuel was returning from the gym and found the door locked. After failing to reach her by phone, he forced open the door and found his fiancée slumped against a cabinet. He immediately dialed 911.
A copy of the police report indicates Samuel was "instructed to start CPR until he noticed a knife in her chest, then was instructed to stop."
It was found that two of Ellen's 19 stab wounds had penetrated deep into her brain. Furthermore, there was no suicide note and a half-made bowl of fruit salad lay on the counter.
Dr. Marlon Osbourne, the assistant medical examiner at the time, noted there were several bruises "in various stages of resolution" on the right side of Ellen's body and proceeded to rule her death a homicide.
However, detectives told reporters the following day they were "leaning" towards suicide because there was no evidence of foul play at the scene and that Ellen had been on antianxiety medication.
But Ellen's psychiatrist felt she was not suicidal and was prescribed Klonopin and Ambien solely to deal with her anxiety; both drugs, however, list suicidal thoughts and behavior as possible side effects.
In a shocking turn of events, Dr. Osbourne reversed the cause of death to say suicide months after his original ruling. Ellen's parents, disillusioned at this point, decided to embark on a quest for justice on their own.
While no one disputes how Ellen was found or how many wounds she had sustained, attorneys have noted in a civil complaint how there are some stark disagreements between the investigators' findings and what other experts have said.
Detectives maintain they found no signs of an intrusion or that Ellen even tried to defend herself, adding that the only DNA they found on the knife was hers. The apartment door was locked until Samuel broke in, per his version of events.
The state AG's office declared last year they had conducted a thorough investigation and "concluded that this evidence supports 'Suicide' as the manner of death."
But Ellen's family is not convinced, and have now taken to TV and social media to push for reopening an investigation.
"I want truth and justice for my daughter," father Josh Greenberg told producers.
The Greenbergs first approached Cyril H. Wecht, a forensic pathologist based in Pittsburgh, in 2012. He concluded that Ellen's death was "strongly suspicious of homicide."
They then consulted Dr. Wayne K. Ross in 2017, who highlighted the stab wound that penetrated the spinal cord. According to him, such an injury would cause Ellen to have "severe pain, cranial nerve dysfunction, and traumatic brain signs" aside from "numbness, tingling [and] irregular heartbeat."
But this goes against Neuropathologist Dr. Lucy Rorke-Adams, who — in the original medical examiner report — "examined the spinal cord and concluded there is no defect of the spinal cord."
In 2018, Dr. Rorke-Adams told the Inquirer she did contract work for the medical examiner's office. However, when the newspaper probed further, there was no bill, invoice, or report from the neuropathologist for this case.
"I would conclude that I did not see the specimen in question although there is a remote possibility that it was shown to me," she wrote to the Inquirer at the time. "However, I have no recollection of such a case."
Scott Eelman, a detective worked alongside Dr. Ross, later pointed out that the bloodstains on Ellen were inconsistent with the position she was found in. Upon rehashing crime scene photos, he found a trail of blood that he said clearly indicates the body was moved.
The Greenbergs have now filed a lawsuit against the Philadelphia County Medical Examiner's Office in a bid to change the cause of death back to homicide or undetermined, so they can guarantee a full-blown investigation into the case.
"It is very frustrating. I have lost a daughter. There were things that were not done properly. I'm not at a place where I can just call it quits," Sandra told producers. "She did not commit suicide, why does she have to have the suicide label around her neck?"
A trial is slated to begin next year.
Season 2 of 'Accident, Suicide or Murder' premiered Saturday, May 9 at 6/5c on Oxygen.