On January 25, 2018, 71-year-old Alan Jay Abrahamson was found dead with a bullet in his chest near his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Abrahamson, known to carry $200 to $300 in cash, had no money in his wallet. His watch was missing. Initially, police believed the incident was murder since there was no weapon nor shell casings present at the death scene as well.
But detectives noticed something odd: a thin line of blood running to the collar of Abrahamson’s royal blue sweatshirt.
A $3,000 reward was offered for Abrahamson’s killer, but no tips were submitted.
Upon closer investigation, police learned that in the weeks before being found dead, the victim had bought two weather balloons, rubber bands and big tanks of helium. Police later found an electronic trail that revealed nearly a decade of meticulous planning to commit suicide.
When detectives began poking around the Internet, they found a 2003 episode of the TV crime show “CSI” in which a person used a gun tied to a weather balloon to make suicide appear to be a murder. Also, a 2008 death in New Mexico seemed to recreate the scenario, but the helium balloons attached to the handle of the gun had become tangled on nearby cactus after the shot was fired.
In July 2018, detectives eventually concluded Abrahamson concocted a scheme to kill himself but make it look like murder. The weather balloon could have taken the gun 105,000 feet up and then exploded somewhere out over the Atlantic Ocean, north of the Bahamas, a police report said.
It is believed that the victim tried to fake his murder for a life insurance payout. Abrahamson made large payments into his life insurance account before his death and searched for information on whether life insurance companies could deny payments for suicide.
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