MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Sam Del Brocco was a man who constantly re-invented himself, spending years as an entertainer singing about dreams.
“Keep your dreams alive, keep your dreams alive, don’t let ’em get away…” sang Del Brocco in a video played at his memorial service.
In his later years, that dream led him to a very successful marketing business in the Washington D.C. area, a great circle of friends and to the arms of Jan Shafer, the woman he shared his life with for more than 30 years.
“Sam was my soul mate. We’ve been together our entire adult life and we’ve had a wonderful life together,” Shafer told CBS4’s Ted Scouten in an exclusive interview.
That whole life came crashing down in September of 2010, when Sam was found savagely murdered inside his beach-side condo in Pompano Beach. Sam’s friends were shocked and sickened by the ruthless violence.
“To realize that the whole fight may have taken place on three different floors, it’s a horrific thing. Someone was bound and determined that they were not going to leave until Sam was dead,” said Greg Czarnecki, a friend of Del Brocco.
“We know that there was a very violent struggle between Sam and his attacker,” explained Homicide Sgt. Steve Feeley with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, who is on the case.
Investigators are keeping pretty quiet about what’s inside their files, including how Sam was murdered. We know it was very bloody and that the motive was probably not robbery. What detectives did uncover is that Sam likely led a secret life while he was here.
“Sam had a different side of him when he came down here,” said Sgt. Feeley.
“They asked me if he was gay,” said Carlos Larraz, Sam’s best friend in South Florida. “I said absolutely not.”
Larraz was stunned at the question. So was Sam’s long time girlfriend Jan.
“If there are things about his life that we don’t know and it’s important to the case, then it’s important to find out,” she insisted.
Just hours before Sam was murdered he ate dinner at Kelly’s Landing on Cordova, just off the 17th Street Causeway in Fort Lauderdale. About 8:30, the night of September 11, 2010, investigators believe Sam drove north on Federal Highway. Detectives said it’s possible he stopped at Johnny’s, a gay bar on Broward Blvd. or that he could have driven to the Galt Ocean Mile area and popped in at Dudes, another gay bar. About 12:30 on the morning of September 12, deputies believe Sam arrived back at his upscale beach condo and he was not alone.
“We believe at this point that Sam either invited someone back to his residence or actually brought somebody back to the residence for a meeting,” explained Sgt. Feeley.
That “meeting” as Sgt. Feeley called it, ended with a fight for life that Sam lost. Sam’s friends and family are devastated that a killer has gotten away with murder.
“We just know that somebody knows something about what happened to him that night,” said one friend as they taped up a sign pleading for information.
Two years after that horrifying night, those who love Sam have not stopped looking for answers. They’re going back to the places where Sam may have last visited, blanketing the area with posters, begging for leads and advertising a big reward. They want the world to know that Sam lead a generous life, was loved by so many, and is sorely missed. They also want the killer to know that they won’t rest until he’s caught.
“My friend was murdered, there’s a killer out there, the killer has not been found,” said Larraz
As his girlfriend Jan watches a video of Sam singing, “don’t let your dreams fade away,” she told Scouten, “This is a man who I loved. He really died in the prime of his life. My commitment is to bring this to closure and to bring somebody to justice.”
Investigators believe this case can be solved, that the person who killed Sam in his condo can be found. Sam’s friends all kicked in an upped the reward to $25,000. If you have information, call Broward Crimestoppers at 954-493-TIPS.