Ellen Greenberg

Officials claim beloved teacher found stabbed 20 times took her own life. Experts say suicide impossible.

The injuries that a Pennsylvania teacher endured during a brutal stabbing suggests that someone may have killed her, despite the official suicide ruling. An expert private investigator said that authorities missed key points during the initial investigation of the young woman’s death, that may have changed the outcome of the case.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ellen Greenberg, a first-grade teacher at Juniata Park Academy, was found stabbed to death in her Manayunk apartment on January 26, 2011. She left work early that day due to a blizzard and stayed inside her apartment at the Venice Lofts, which she shared with her fiancé, television producer Sam Goldberg.

Authorities found Ellen deceased in her kitchen with a knife rammed four inches into her chest. A total of 20 stab wounds were found on Ellen’s body. Ten of the stab wounds were to the back of her neck, one stab wound was to the back of her scalp, another wound was on her stomach, and eight wounds were found on her chest.

Sam Goldberg told investigators that he left for the gym while Ellen was chopping up fruit in the kitchen. He returned home to find he was locked out, with the swing lock attached on the inside side of the front door, according to what he told authorities.

Goldberg said he was only gone around 45 minutes before returning to their sixth-floor apartment. He said he called and texted Ellen numerous times, but when he couldn’t get an answer and couldn’t get help from the apartment management, he broke the lock and walked inside.

Inside the apartment, Ellen was found slumped over in the kitchen, with “some of her upper body/shoulders resting against the lower half of the white kitchen cabinets.”

Ellen Greenberg [Justice for Ellen/Facebook]
With no defense wounds, no forced entry into the apartment and no evidence of any struggles, police said Ellen committed suicide. A medical examiner determined that Ellen’s death was a homicide but later changed the official cause to suicide, after conversing with investigators.

Ellen’s family thinks she met her demise due to foul play. They hired an expert private investigator who said that there were several areas at the scene that were not investigated thoroughly by police.

“There are stairs that lead down to the sixth floor,” Tom Brennan, a private investigator for the Greenberg family, told Nancy Grace. “There were entryways at that time that could be accessed, and the individual or individuals could avoid, um, being detected with the security cameras.”

Brennan added that at the time of the initial investigation, authorities did not collect the trash at the apartment, the dumpster was not searched, and no one checked to see if anyone took a recent shower. Goldberg’s car was also not searched, according to Brennan.

“It would be so easy given the circumstance that I’m hearing, for a perp to murder Ellen, to take a shower, to leave the apartment, to go down the emergency stairwell, to dump bloody clothing…in a dumpster or in a car trunk,” Grace said.

After checking security footage, investigators determined that Sam Goldberg’s version of events matched the footage. However, Brennan said there was a screw missing from the swing lock that was never recovered and there were no broken particles found. If someone broke the lock, Brennan said, broken pieces of wood from the door and the screw should have been found at the scene.

Meanwhile, the Greenbergs continue to fight for their daughter’s case to be reopened and classified as a homicide. In October 2019, they filed a civil suit against the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, along with Dr. Marlon Osbourne, who performed the initial autopsy.

The Greenbergs have also obtained forensic scientists, such as the renowned Dr. Henry Lee, to look at the case.

Lee concluded that “the number and types of wounds and bloodstain patterns observed are consistent with a homicide scene.”

To learn more about Ellen’s case, visit the Justice for Ellen Facebook page.

Check back for updates.

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most – your children.

[Feature Photo: Ellen Greenberg/Handout]