Friday, July 4, 2008
Out for Justice: Olga Paralante
She was truly the head of her family. Not only a mother and grandmother but a great grandmother, and then, one day, a burglar beat and strangled the 71-year-old to death. Who did it? Family members would do anything to find out, and, tonight, they have come to Out For Justice. Here is Patrick Fraser with the story.
WSVN -- In South Florida, she was known as the bingo queen.
Fred Parlante, son: "She used to sit there, 120 cards, and she used to memorize every single number in the card. She never used a chip or a marker.
Olga Dolores Paralante, a mother of nine, grandmother of 32, great-grandmother to 21. The queen of the Paralante family.
Fred Parlante: "It has devastated my family beyond belief. I can't even begin to tell you what it's done to certain people in the family."
Lives ruined because of what happened in Olga's Fort Lauderdale apartment 11 years ago.
Frank Ilarraza, Broward Detective: "She was strangled to death. The house was ransacked. It looked like it was a burglary. Someone walked in on it, and maybe they didn't expect her to be there, and she might have surprised them, and they wound up killing her. You could tell the person, they were trying to keep her quiet or keep her silenced."
A 71-year-old great-grandmother beaten and strangled. Tough for detectives to look at, and, one year later, torturous for her sons to think about.
Bob Parlante, son: "I was the last one to talk to her, and all she talked about was, 'My son was getting married in April,' and all she talked about was going to his wedding."
Bob was the last one to talk to her. Freddy is convinced he is the last one his mother called for.
Fred Parlante: "Whenever anything happened at the house, she said, 'I'm calling your older brother Freddy,' well, as she was being murdered I could swear my mother was screaming out my name, 'Freddy, help me, help me!' and I was just so sorry that I couldn't be there at that time because I know it wouldn't ever have happened."
Also haunting her family, the crime scene showed Olga fought and fought to save her life, but she couldn't use one arm and had no chance against her brutal attacker.
Bob Parlante: "She was a fighter. I'll guarantee you she fought back. She was a fighter. I mean she was paralyzed on her left side, and she couldn't use her left arm at all but, I'll guarantee you, she used her right arm. She couldn't even get out of bed herself, 70-something years old, all they had to do was push her into a closet To beat her the way they beat her and strangle her is absolutely disgusting. You couldn't do that to an animal. I mean it's sickening the way they did this to her."
Broward detectives did all they could. They determined the murderer took a 20-inch GE TV, a radio and a clock. They dug and dug, but those things never turned up, and nothing turned up that would identify the killer.
Frank Ilarraza: "And we worked it for quiet a while, no leads, numerous people but nothing came out of it. Unfortunately, it became a cold case."
Fred borrowed money and hired private detectives. The family offered a reward, created a web site to remember Olga, but no clues, just more sorrow.
Nothing will bring Olga back, but a call might bring some answers.
Bob Parlante: "If anyone knows anything, call the sergeant, talk to him privately. You don't have to leave your name. If you know anything, just tell him, please."
And Frank Ilarraza would love to get a call about Olga Paralante.
Frank Ilarraza: "There is always two sides to every story, give us a call, and we will be more than happy to listen to your side. I mean you owe it to the family. You have a mother. You have a grandmother. Think about them. Do the right thing."
One call could clear a case and help a family answer some terrible questions.
Bob Parlante: "We are begging you. Please come forward and give us some piece and quiet."
Eleven years ago, on the night of March 13, 1997, at this complex in Fort Lauderdale someone came to steal from Olga Paralante and took her life.
If you have any information, the Broward Sheriff's cold case detectives would appreciate a call. And if you are missing a loved one, still wondering why someone would kill them, give us a call. Many people are still Out For Justice.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out for Justice
Broward County Crime Stoppers: 954-493-TIPS