Father Optimistic After Meeting With Authorities Over Daughter’s Death
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South Florida Crime
MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – The father of a 21-year-old girl who died in March of 2010 in Miami Beach after toxic levels of the date rape drug “GHB” were found in her system said that he will not rest until someone is held accountable for her death, and now he is optimistic that charges will eventually be filed in this case.
Dan Sumnicht, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he learned of these developments after he met for more than an hour with two Miami Beach police detectives and a prosecutor from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office inside Miami Beach Police headquarters.
“It is my belief that charges eventually will be filed,” said Sumnicht.
“And how do you feel about that?” D’Oench asked him.
“I feel that would be the best outcome that I could hope for,” said Sumnicht, “I feel much better than I did going in. I feel like they are applying the resources that are needed, that they are working on this case diligently. This will be with us for the rest of our lives. To have some accountability, this will be the best we can hope for.”
Sumnicht was not allowed to release information that he was given at the private meeting. But he added, “I do have some answers and decisions to make and I have a lot to share with my family. I would like to see this investigation come to a timely conclusion and the case be filed and brought to court.”
Sumnicht told D’Oench that he does not fault police and prosecutors for taking so long to make a decision.
“I realize now that this is a complex case,” said Sumnicht, who plans to return to his family in Green Bay on Saturday.
Terry Chavez, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, told D’Oench that she had not spoken with the prosecutor in this case about her meeting with Sumnicht and said there was no new information to release right now.
Before the meeting, Sumnicht had told D’Oench, “I’d like the see them accelerate the pace of this investigation. Sometimes you can’t dictate the pace of what people are doing but we need to bring closure to this case. Part of this case will never be over and that will keep the wounds open forever but we need to bring closure and prevent this from happening to other women as well.”
“You’re not going to give up?” D’Oench asked Sumnicht.
“No,” Sumnicht said, “Never. There are things that have to be done and things that should be done.”
On Thursday, Sumnicht told CBS4, “There’s a homicide here. Julia’s life was taken from her. She had a tremendous future ahead of her. She lit up a room when she came in. She knew how to make people laugh when she came in. And there’s just a big hole in our lives right now.”
“My daughter loved the Green Bay Packers and she dreamed of becoming a model,” said Sumnicht. “She was a communications major at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse when she went to South Beach for spring break last year.”
Her dreams of becoming a model ended in March of 2010. A report from the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office show high levels of the date rape drug in her system along with trace amounts of alcohol. Sumnicht said he still doesn’t have answers.
“We’re very frustrated. It’s been over 600 days. We still don’t have any accountability for this,” said Sumnicht. “There’s a saying that goes that justice delayed is justice denied and that normally refers to defendants. What about the victim and who’s going to be the advocate for the victim?”
While Miami Beach police are not commenting because the case is an open investigation, Sumnicht has uncovered a lot of information through a private investigator who he has hired, Chris Catania.
Catania discovered that sometime on the day she died, Sumnicht met up with 36-year-old Zoltan Prepszent, a celebrity photographer, at a club in South Beach.
Catania said Sumnicht and Prepszent had actually met each other the year before.
“He admitted to being in the apartment with Julia and that he had consumed GHB himself knowing that Julia would not have taken the drug on her own and that Itzler had access to it,” said Catania. “You know as an investigator you put two and two together and someone slipped Julia that drug.”
Sumnicht took a picture of herself shortly before her death and it showed a dazed look on her face.
The Medical Examiner’s Office found that she had high levels of the date rape drug in her system but only trace amounts of alcohol.
“It is my belief that while she was out at Club Set she was protecting herself, taking care of herself, you know having a good time. She was not consuming alcohol,” said Catania.
D’Oench tried to reach Prepszent on his cell phone, but he did return a call. Jason Itzler, who is in a Manhattan jail, could not be reached for comment. In a jailhouse interview with The New York Post in September, Itzler said he “almost died that night” from ingesting too much GHB himself.
So far, no one has been charged in Sumnicht’s death.
“I feel like she’s not a Jane Doe,” said Dan Sumnicht. “She is Julia. She deserves answers. It’s been painfully slow getting answers. I think we are making progress.”
“We want to say that it’s time for people with information to come forward and that it’s been too long and that we don’t go away until we get accountability for this,” said Sumnicht.
Sumnicht told D’Oench he will return to his family in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday. His daughter Julia had three other, younger siblings. His wife, Marie, is an elementary school teacher.
“Zoltan was a photographer and a club promoter in the Miami Beach area,” said Catania. “He was a Papparazzi kind of guy.”
Prebszent shared a condo with 44-year-old Itzler. Itzler, who calls himself “The King of All Pimps,” is currently in New York facing charges of promoting prostitution and selling drugs.
According to The New York Post, Itzler placed himself at the condo with the couple.