Police: Toronto couple murdered in Florida were asphyxiated

TORONTO (JTA) – A Toronto Jewish couple found dead in their Florida townhouse in January were asphyxiated, police said.

Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy of Hallandale Beach, Fla., said Wednesday that there were at least two perpetrators, and police have "no reason to believe the people responsible were known to [the couple]." The January murders of Toronto snowbirds David "Donny" Pichosky and Rochelle Wise in South Florida were "senseless," Flournoy added.

Wise, 66, was a retired preschool administrator at Bialik Hebrew Day School in Toronto and a former director of a day camp. Pichosky, her husband of four years, was a retired businessman who volunteered with Jewish seniors. The couple belonged to Toronto’s Shaarei Shomayim Congregation. Their deaths shocked Toronto’s Jewish community.

Investigators quickly ruled their deaths a double murder but chose not to release the cause of death after receiving the results of toxicology tests. Flournoy and other member of his team visited Toronto in January to gather leads.

In February, police released video surveillance footage shot the day before the couple’s bodies were discovered of a woman carrying an unidentified item toward the back of the townhouse Wise and Pichosky shared.

Police are awaiting the results of further forensic testing, Flournoy said. There are also numerous surveillance tapes to be studied. He refused to comment on whether anything was stolen from the home.

CrimeStoppers and private donors have offered a reward of $51,000 for information that would help solve the case.

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