Love & Violation

When Bridget Garcia came to work for Regina Greenhill, the two couldn't have been closer. Life couldn't have been sweeter. Then the nightmare descended.

“... We've begged you to come here, to Atlanta, to live, and be close by. If you wanted, your life could be full instead of nearly empty. You've chosen to remain in Miami, and I guess because Bridget is your only contact, she's become the most important one in your life. But she's not family. She is a paid employee. And if there weren't a salary involved, she wouldn't be hanging around. Your family would, though.

“... Ever since this stuff started happening with Bridget, I've kept quiet. No more. The situation is bizarre, it makes no sense, and the Regina that I've known for so long wouldn't be making the decisions that you've been making lately. I'm hoping that this period will pass. I'm hoping, once again, your first allegiance will be to Joel. I'm hoping you'll remember your grandchildren. I'm hoping you'll remember that family is the most important thing. We'll always be there. Will Bridget?”

Regina turned over this letter to Bridget for safekeeping, as she did a May 1999 letter from a family attorney affriming her decision to remove Joel as trustee of her estate. (“She said Joel snoops around in her things,” Bridget says by way of explanation.) When Regina fell and broke a rib, she refused to let Bridget call Joel, according to Bridget. “Gina doesn't trust him,” relates the nurse. “That's why she took him off as a trustee. She said she didn't trust Joel.

Bridget still wears the simple wedding ring Regina bought for her
Jennie Zeiner
Bridget still wears the simple wedding ring Regina bought for her
From Aventura Police Department Incident Report, Case No.: 1-99-005583: "The mother, Regina Greenhill was interviewed and in discussion she advised that she at times feels afraid or intimidated by her son, and that yes she did buy Bridget a car as a gift. Bridget has been working at her apartment for several years and she has never had a problem. Ms. Greenhill does not believe that she did anything wrong buying the car."
From Aventura Police Department Incident Report, Case No.: 1-99-005583: "The mother, Regina Greenhill was interviewed and in discussion she advised that she at times feels afraid or intimidated by her son, and that yes she did buy Bridget a car as a gift. Bridget has been working at her apartment for several years and she has never had a problem. Ms. Greenhill does not believe that she did anything wrong buying the car."

“She asked me to be her trustee several times,” Bridget adds. “It's too much responsibility and I didn't want that. She begged me many, many times at the table, when we were having supper in the evening. At one time she said to me that if this continues, she's going to leave every penny she has to the Jewish Fund. It's her money, she would say, she can do whatever she wanted to do. Gina is very brilliant. Very brilliant. For 87 years old, she's not a fool.”

Daniel Greenhill contends Bridget is lying about the chilly relations between Joel and his mother. Even though Regina did remove Joel as a trustee and even though the letter from Janet speaks of a conflict, Daniel says Joel and Regina never fell out of touch. “In fact the opposite occurred,” Daniel asserts. “Joel is a very, very devoted son doing a tremendous amount to help her in any number of ways. If it hadn't been for him, she would have gone down the drain.

“My brother deserves all the credit,” Daniel continues. “He was really the one who blocked the gifts that Bridget had coerced my mother to give her. There were some very, very unpleasant episodes. I had to go there to be in the middle of this -- supposedly for a family visit but also to keep an eye on things, because my brother couldn't go down there for any length of time.”


Police reports describe Daniel as standing five feet five inches tall and weighing a hefty 185 pounds. He has a scar on his left ear and a full head of graying brown hair. He lives full-time in the desert city of Beersheba, Israel, seeing his mother in South Florida only every two years or so. He's 57 years old. “I usually teach English,” he says of his occupation. “Mostly technical English to adults. I also do work with children. I have a bachelor's degree in English and a master's in education psychology. Lately I've gotten very interested in spiritual disciplines, therapies of different sorts.”

With tension high between Joel, Regina, and Bridget, Daniel arrived at his mother's condo in September 1999 for a six-week visit. He stayed in the living room, on the sofa bed, rarely leaving the apartment. Sometimes he'd retrieve the mail. Other times, if Regina gave him money, he might visit Wal-Mart to stock up on T-shirts, socks, and underwear. At night he, Regina, and Bridget might dine at La Paloma or another restaurant. Bridget's first impression of Daniel was positive. “When I came in on the day he arrived he says, “Hi, Bridget.' Even when he called his mother over the phone before I saw him in person, he spoke very nice over the phone.”

According to Bridget on that first day she met Daniel, with Regina in the bathroom, Daniel announced he'd brought the nurse a gift from Israel. Bridget carefully opened the wrapping paper. “It was a calendar and a pen,” she recalls. “The calendar was with a naked woman on top. I threw it out. It just didn't appeal to me. I just didn't like the look of it. But in my mind I just didn't think anything. He sounded very nice and good and everything.”

Bridget went about her work. Over the next four weeks, Daniel spoke to her “very nicely,” she says. “He would make dirty jokes to his mother. I wouldn't pay attention to them. She would say, “Watch your mouth, Danny,' but I paid no attention to him. He was always there. I would just do whatever I had to do to prepare his and Regina's meals.”

Sticking to the schedule, Regina napped every afternoon. After fixing supper Bridget usually sat on the balcony and watched the palm tree shadows lengthen over the golf course. “He would be on the couch sometimes if I did this,” Bridget recollects. “I'd see him watching me, but I paid no attention to it. He had a Bible or a book he was reading up close to his face. He was watching me over the book, then when I turned around he puts the book back up. But I didn't pay any attention to it. I just thought, like, he's funny or whatever. Then he would get down on his knees and pray some type of praying then clap his hands and stomp his feet. I tell you, he's a character. He spoke about some kind of oil he could rub me down with and it would heal me from whatever it is, God knows what.”

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