HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – In the early 1970, Florida’s city of Hollywood was in the midst of a population explosion.
A record-breaking 25.5 million people visited the Sunshine State in 1973, but amid the fanfare and prosperity, criminals still lurked the streets. There were more than a dozen violent murders in the Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale areas during the late summer of 1973.
Eugene Lanzi was beaten to death at an apartment building site on Aug. 27, 1973. More than 48 years later, Lanzi’s niece Marie Maroney still remembers him as “one of the greatest guys you will ever meet.” She said her mother and grandmother were devastated, they both died not knowing who killed him.
The 1973 police report offers clues. There was an anonymous tip and an unusual murder weapon: A triangular concrete slab. Ten days after his murder, Eugene Rockacy was killed the same way. He was beaten in the head with a blunt object. The lead detective suspected it was the same killer.
Evidence showed the killer robbed Rockacy and Lanzi. There was also a rash of purse snatchings and officers found a bag that was stolen in Hallandale Beach — near to Lanzi’s body. The retired detective said there is the possibility that their killer was also the purse thief.
The murders remain unsolved and both families hope someone may have the answers they are looking for.