Legends of the Fall

In Miami's jungle of condo towers, 16 people have jumped to their deaths.

Midway through the party, she and her boyfriend Victor "were involved in a heated argument," according to the medical examiner's investigation. She told him she wanted to die, so Victor left her 28th-floor condo to look for help from security guards. When he got downstairs, he saw "people on their cell phones, running frantically" toward Mariajose's bikini-clad body. She had a gaping wound on her head the size of an eggplant.

Fred and Ceil Feldman couldn't help but stare at the broken body on their patio. "As much as I didn't want to look," Fred remembers, "I had to."

The rest of the day was filled with questions from detectives. The Feldmans were trapped in the gruesome scene of Khinna's death: They weren't able to leave their home for hours. A cleaning crew finally began to wash the couple's blood-stained outdoor tables six hours later. Two men wore clunky masks and coveralls as they scrubbed the mess with toothbrush-size instruments. "The city sent them," Ceil says. "They looked like they'd come from the moon."

Kyle T. Webster
Kyle T. Webster

These days, Fred, an 81-year-old retired businessman, sometimes wonders about that fateful morning. What if he and Ceil had decided to have coffee outside? Would they be alive? And what if Khinna's husband hadn't left to fetch breakfast? Or if the cancer hadn't come back?

Fred and Ceil don't pretend to know what went on in that poor woman's mind. "It may seem strange," Fred says, "but we feel lucky to be alive."

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