The Mysterious Disappearance Of Baby Sabrina Aisenberg

In the 21st century, it is difficult to imagine how someone could disappear without a trace. While computers, cell phones, and cameras are nearly everywhere, people still go missing on a fairly regular basis. Though it is always sad and scary when someone seems to vanish into thin air it is especially tragic when a child is involved. This unfortunately was the case with 5-month-old Sabrina Aisenberg.

Disaster struck the Aisenberg household on November 23, 1997. According to the Charley Project, the family woke up that morning to find that baby Sabrina had disappeared from her crib. The only other thing that was missing was a blue and yellow baby blanket. Her parents and siblings had no idea how this could have happened and had no answers or leads for the police. Two and half decades later, little Sabrina has never been found and no one has any clue as to what happened to her.

Suspicion fell on the parents

The lives of the Aisenberg household were turned upside down some time in the hours between November 23 and November 24, 1997. Marlene Aisenberg reportedly put all of the children to bed that night, including Sabrina. According to CNN, it was not until the following morning when Mrs. Aisenberg went to wake the kids up for school when she discovered that the baby was no longer in her crib.

After searching the home and coming up empty-handed, they called 911 and asked neighbors if they had seen the baby. The police arrived and also were unable to find the child. The parents did state that while searching the house, they noticed that the garage door was and the door between the laundry room and the house was also open. Police opened an investigation, and the largest missing person search that had ever been undertaken in Hillsborough county ensued, according to WFLA (via YouTube). When police found little to go on (per Unsolved Mysteries) suspicion almost immediately fell on Sabrina's parents, Steve and Marlene.

Who are the Aisenbergs?

In order to understand this mysterious case, you have to know a little bit about the Aisenburgs. By 1997, Steve and Marlene Aisenberg were living the life of a typical family. The couple had three kids, William, Monica, and Sabrina, and were raising them in Valrico, Florida (per ABC News). The family lived in a safe middle-class neighborhood in a four-bedroom home with a garage that was connected to the house via the laundry room.

The night of Sabrina's disappearance, Marlene said the couple had forgotten to close the garage door and they left the laundry room door unlocked. She called 911 at 6:42 a.m. to say she needed police because her baby was missing, according to The Tampa Bay Times. The Aisenberg's 8 and 4-year-olds were safe in their beds. Police arrived to find no signs of a break-in and observed a normal, busy household complete with dirty dishes in the sink and children's toys laying around. 

Parents' suspicious behavior

Though this family had just lost their baby, that did not keep the parents from becoming the lead suspects in the case. The police reportedly became suspicious for a few reasons, per Unsolved Mysteries. Due to the doors to the house and garage being open, there were no signs of forced entry into the home. Additionally, there were no ransom demands made following the abduction.

Some of the Aisenbergs' behavior also seemed odd to police. Reportedly, during a family press conference, Marlene was caught smiling. A video also came to light that showed baby Sabrina a few days before she disappeared. Some of the investigators who saw the video, it seemed like the baby had bruises on her face and some of her hair appeared to be missing from her head. Of course, the family and the Aisenbergs denied any involvement with the disappearance, but the police were not buying it.

Parents charged

The police were so suspicious of the Aisenbergs that continued to investigate them. As a result of their investigation, in 1999 the couple was indicted on two separate federal charges. One charge was for making false statements to law enforcement and the other was for conspiracy to make false statements, according to ABC News.

As a result of their indictment, it became public knowledge that the police had bugged the Aisenberg home and had recorded them in the process. According to prosecutors, the recordings captured Steve and Marlene talking about Steve having killed Sabrina while high on cocaine. The judge in the case determined much of the tape recordings inaudible, and some of the Aisenbergs' conversations were being taken out of context. As a result of these findings, prosecutors dropped the charges in 2001, before the couple even went to trial. Three years later, the federal government was ordered to pay the family's attorney fees.

A decades long mystery

Despite the initial charges against the Aisenbergs, they have never been formally charged in the disappearance of their daughter. Police have continued to investigate this case over the years, following various leads, but unfortunately, the case remains an unsolved mystery, with Sabrina is still missing as of 2022.

According to Inside Edition, in an interview with the Aisenbergs in 2018, the couple stated that a 20-year-old woman reached out to them claiming to be their missing daughter. The anonymous woman reportedly does not have pictures from her life from the time she was 5 to 9 months old and is around the same age as Sabrina would have been. Even more surprisingly, another woman reached out to the couple, also claiming to be Sabrina.

Both the Aisenbergs and the two women involved were willing to submit to a DNA test to confirm or deny their identities. The tests proved the women were not Sabrina, according to Cinemaholic

Following the disappearance of their baby daughter, the Aisenbergs moved their remaining children to Maryland in 1999. Today, the couple still lives there and both of them work as real estate agents. Though baby Sabrina has been missing all of this time, her parents reportedly have always kept a room for her in their home. The Aisenbergs still believe their little girl is out there somewhere and will be coming home someday.