In striking contrast to the brutal manner in which she met her death, flowers have sprung up both here and in Miami in memory of Aileen Seiden.
At North Shore Park along Miami Beach’s shore, close friends gathered to remember their 31-year-old friend, who was bludgeoned to death sometime late on April 22, likely in a room at Sportsman’s Lodge, and her body dumped before sunrise just off U.S. 98.
On the beach sat Seiden’s photo, surrounded by sunflowers.
“The vigil was extremely sad,” said one of Seiden’s friends. “This is a very tragic situation but it was nice to all get together and honor her memory.”
At the Sportsman’s Lodge, owners Bob and Edda Allen have decorated a small concrete monument that overlooks the river with pink roses, and a copy of the newspaper article that addressed Seiden’s murder.
And near the site of where her body, clothed in black spandex pants, put on backwards, lying face up in a ditch, was discovered by an Eastpoint couple at about 4:40 p.m. on April 23, people in the county have placed bouquets of flowers in Seiden’s memory.
The sheriff’s office reported that lacerations and bruises to Seiden’s stomach and face were seen. A full report by the county medical examiner has been provided State Attorney Jack Campbell’s office.
The couple with whom Seiden checked into the lodge about 10:20 p.m. on April 21, after dining for about two hours on the patio of the Red Pirate, have been charged in her murder.
Zachary Abell, 30, from North Miami, was brought here May 2 and booked into the Franklin County Jail on the charge of second degree murder and tampering with evidence
Citing on forms that he was completely broke, with no assets whatsoever, the operator of a North Miami used car lot was given a first appearance before County Judge Van Russell. Public Defender Courtenay Miller sought to have Abell surrender his passport and wear an ankle bracelet in order to be let out on bail, but Russell ordered him held without bond. Miller said no decision has been made whether to seek bail through a motion before Circuit Judge Terry Lewis. Abell is being held in the Wakulla County Jail.
In contrast, Christina Araujo, 38, from North Miami, also charged with the same offenses, arrived at the county jail Monday afternoon, after being held for several days in a South Florida hospital on what law enforcement officials say was a spider bite. The daughter of a high-ranking officer in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, she has hired two high-powered attorneys, Scott Richardson, of West Palm Beach and Jimmy Judkins, of Tallahassee. A hearing is to be held this morning as to whether she will be granted bail.
The probable cause affidavit filed by officers working under Sheriff A.J. Smith indicates that Michael John Picavet, of Davie, reported the possible murder to officials in Palm Beach County on the morning of April 24. He said the three had gone to Texas to buy vehicles for the car dealership, and that on ther return to South Florida, Abell and Araujo informed him “something bad occurred on their trip and their friend (Seiden) was dead.”
Investigation of sheriff’s deputies and later work by crime scene technicians from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, found blood spatter on the walls, floors, curtains and chairs of the motel room. “The bed sheets had been washed by the suspects and placed back on the bed,” read the report. “Suspects attempted to remove the blood from the mattress to no avail. There were numerous blood staisn on the sheets, mattress covers and mattress.”
The 2013 Honda Civic that was driven has been searched by FDLE, and in it was found a broken wooden staff that Aruajo told authorities she saw Abell beating Seiden with in the bathroom. Technicians found evidence of blood stains in the vehicle as well. A shower curtain and rod were also found missing, and trash and balloons were scattered on the room floor.