MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Publicist Nick D’Annunzio organized a Friday vigil to honor the memory of Christine Englehardt, a 24-year-old woman who was found dead on March 18 at a Miami Beach hotel.
D’Annunzio never met Englehardt, who lived in Richboro, Pennsylvania, but he said the news of her death really affected him.
The medical examiner hasn’t released the cause of death. Detectives said two men visiting from North Carolina drugged and raped her.
“Christine is everyone’s daughter, sister, girlfriend, best friend, and my heart breaks for her family,” D’Annunzio said.
Surveillance video shows Englehardt needed help to walk inside the Albion Hotel with Dorian Taylor, 24, and Evorie Collier, 21, whom she had met in South Beach, police said.
Taylor and Collier also stole her credit cards, police said. Detectives arrested them, and they are being held without bond. They are facing charges of sexual battery, burglary, theft, and credit card fraud.
“Miami Beach, we have blood on our hands,” D’Annunzio said. “This type of crime should not be happening in our community.”
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, there have been large crowds during a chaotic spring break season that ends on April 12th. A shooting killed Suwaye Amadou, 27, a Miami Beach resident. Officers have shot pepper balls at rowdy tourists, and the city was forced to implement an 8 p.m. curfew in the entertainment district.
D’Annunzio is the founding partner at TARA, Ink., a public relations agency that specializes in fashion, beauty, hospitality, and entertainment. He and many at the vigil said they were heartbroken.
D’Annunzio said Englehardt should have been able to travel to Miami Beach and have fun without worrying about her safety. She was found dead at a hotel, 1650 James Ave., near Lincoln Road and the Ritz Carlton in South Beach.
Some of the attendees said something needs to be done to keep criminals away from Miami Beach. Some brought flowers to set up a temporary memorial in Englehardt’s honor.
“It’s such a heinous crime, that we did not want her death to be in vain,” D’Annunzio said. “We want to see a change in the city of Miami Beach.”