Family Fights For Justice For Teacher Found With 20 Stab Wounds Whose Death Was Ruled A Suicide

On January 26, 2011, Ellen Greenberg, 27, was found in her kitchen with 20 stab wounds, including some on the back of her neck. For years, her family has fought for her case to be reexamined.

Ellen Greenberg, 27, pictured here smiling, was found stabbed to death in January 2011.

On January 26, 2011, Ellen Greenberg, 27, was found in her kitchen with 20 stab wounds. For years, her family has fought for her case to be reexamined.

Photo by: Ellen Greenberg via Facebook

Ellen Greenberg via Facebook

The future looked bright for 27-year-old Ellen Greenberg back in 2011. As a beloved schoolteacher who was engaged to be married, she had a zest for life that was observed by friends and family members.

Then, on January 26, 2011, her fiancé Sam Goldberg called the police to report that he had found her dead in the kitchen of their Philadelphia apartment home. According to Inside Edition, a recording was made of Goldberg's phone call to the police, and it captures the moment when he apparently discovers his fiancée’s stab wounds.

He said, “Her shirt won't come off, it's a zipper. Oh, my God, she stabbed herself.”

Greenberg was stabbed a total of 20 times, and half the stab wounds were in the back of her neck. One was in her scalp. She had eight stab wounds in her chest and abdomen.

PEOPLE reported that her death was originally determined to be a homicide, but the manner of death was later changed to suicide. This outraged her family who thought it was impossible that she could have stabbed herself. Nevertheless, investigators didn’t see signs of foul play and only found Greenberg’s own DNA on her clothes and the knife used to kill her.

For more than a decade following her death, her family has been fighting to get the manner of her death changed from suicide to homicide or undetermined. In fact, Ellen’s devoted parents, Sandee and Josh Greenberg, even had photographs taken to show how impossible it was that the young woman had stabbed herself. While Ellen Greenberg had been experiencing anxiety and sought the help of a psychiatrist in the months before her death, her family says she was in no way suicidal.

The Daily Mail pointed out inconsistencies. Her parents claim that she had defense wounds that weren’t acknowledged by initial investigators. Investigator Tom Brennan revealed that Ellen also had a deep stab wound to the back of her neck that occurred after her death. Furthermore, Ellen was left-handed, but the knife was apparently placed in her right hand. Also, she was reportedly also stabbed with another knife that has yet to be discovered, according to The Daily Mail.

“The authorities trying to make us believe that our daughter committed suicide when she didn't is just reprehensible to me,” Sandee Greenberg told Inside Edition.

11 years later, in August 2022, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced that it has assigned an investigator and prosecutor to take a new look at the case. That came just a couple of months after the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office relinquished the case.

This gave her family new reasons to hope. “We’re asking [for] justice for our daughter. That’s all we want. That’s all we are fighting for and that’s what we need,” Ellen's dad said.

In September 2023, a Pennsylvania appellate court ruled against the Greenbergs in their quest to change the death certificate to homicide. Despite the ruling, the Greenberg family is not giving up in their fight for justice for their daughter. According to CBS News, the Greenbergs plan to take this to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

*This article was originally published in September 2022 and updated in January 2024.

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