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Authorities Doubt Missing Florida Heiress Still Alive

<i> from Associated Press</i>

Jacqueline Levitz was a fixture of high society in Palm Beach, Fla., a millionaire’s wife known for elegant soirees and work with charities. She owned diamonds once worn by Marilyn Monroe.

After her husband’s death, she moved to this historic small city for peace and quiet and to get back to her Southern roots.

Then she vanished, leaving signs of a violent struggle and blood in her one-story brick house. There was blood all over a bedroom carpet, blood soaked into a mattress and evidence someone had tried to clean up in a bathroom.

“This case is a little strange,” Warren County Sheriff Paul Barrett said. “We believe she is dead. In cases like this, we can’t figure out why they would take the body.”

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Authorities said they were calling in the FBI after a helicopter search turned up no sign of either the 62-year-old woman’s body or sheets missing from her bed, which might have been used to wrap her body.

“They can help us,” Barrett said of the federal agents. “They can talk to people in Florida and in California that we can’t talk to and we need to talk to.”

Investigators have found no trace of Ms. Levitz along any road in the county or along either bank of the powerful mile-wide Mississippi River. She was last seen alive Nov. 18.

The blood was being analyzed at the state crime lab to determine if it is hers, the sheriff said.

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In 1987, “Jackie,” was hired by furniture magnate Ralph Levitz to decorate his Palm Beach mansion. His business had grown into a billion-dollar empire with stores in more than 20 states. They married and lived in a $2-million home in Palm Beach.

There was no comment Friday from Levitz Furniture. Company headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., was closed for the holiday.


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