But before they could file charges against Goldman, a naturalized citizen from Uzbekistan, he had fled the country. Before they could question his parents about their role in his flight, their bodies were found in their Bensalem apartment Tuesday night, Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons said at a press conference yesterday.
The only one left to face charges is Goldman's wife, Irina Sapiro, who was sent to Bucks County prison after failing to post $1 million bail Wednesday for allegedly hindering police in apprehending her husband.
The murder mystery is still unraveling.
"The motive still isn't clear to me," said Gibbons, who also said she suspects that Zonis and Goldman were involved in a romance gone awry.
Gibbons said she was certain of one thing: "Paul Goldman is the ultimate coward. He fled the United States leaving his parents, his wife and his child to suffer the consequences of his murderous conduct."
Goldman, 38, told police during a Jan. 1 interview that he, too, was grieving for Zonis, a friend and fellow immigrant from the former Soviet Union whose family he had known for more than 10 years. He recalled talking to her not 15 times on Dec. 29, but five or six times, with the last call coming from Zonis at 5:45 p.m.
" 'I have good news for you. Hold on. I'll call you back,' " Goldman recalled her saying.
He was so surprised to find out from Zonis' sister that she had been killed, he told police, that he exclaimed, "Are you kidding?"
He was so sympathetic that he drove with his wife from their Mount Laurel home to comfort Zonis' husband and two sons in Northeast Philadelphia.
Within days of the interview, police would come to know that Goldman, also known as Pavel and Pasha, was within a mile of Zonis' office when the last call was made at 5:45 p.m.
The stronger evidence came in an admission from Sapiro after Goldman had fled to Europe.
" 'I got rid of someone who could not let me live,' " she told police he said. "I killed Fay."
Zonis, 42, was found dead by her son, Eugene, 24. Gibbons said the killing was particularly brutal. The broken handle of a paring knife was found at the scene, but the knife remains missing. Zonis was stabbed 10 times in the chest, neck, face and hands. Her head was pounded on a hard surface until her nose broke and several teeth were knocked out. The fatal wound was to an artery in the neck. The most telling wounds were two deep cuts to the chest made after Zonis was dead.
"It indicates to me extreme hatred," Gibbons said. "He was a very angry man."
Goldman, who has worked as a handyman for a computer company and an installer of skylights in New Jersey, sometimes visited Zonis at Lighthouse Realty Funding, where she had worked as a mortgage processor since July, Gibbons said.
Since 1999, Goldman and Sapiro have lived in a Mount Laurel townhouse development where they mostly kept to themselves, neighbors said.
Zane Gretz, who lives next door, came to trust Goldman enough to have lent him his sport-utility vehicle once. Gretz said the couple spoke Russian and sometimes held parties in their garage with other immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Their house, he said, was immaculate.
Gretz, 55, recalled Sapiro as loquacious and hospitable, while Paul was quiet.
The couple had a baby son who was born prematurely, Gretz said.
Gibbons said Sapiro was an immigrant from Ukraine who claimed to be here on a visa.
According to Gretz, Sapiro worked at a vocational rehabilitation center in Philadelphia. He said Goldman did not appear to be working.
Gretz said he saw Goldman's parents earlier this week, pulling up to the house in a Lincoln. He said he also saw Sapiro leaving the house recently with two men and a computer. Gretz said he didn't know whether the men were detectives.
The FBI, Interpol, the Justice Department, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U.S. Customs are trying to find Goldman, who left the country with his father on Jan. 7.
On Tuesday, police found Goldman's parents, Edward Goldman, 66, and Inessa Lemashova, 63, dead with their wrists cut in the bathroom of their Bensalem apartment. Gibbons said that the couple left a note that indicated "they could not live with the actions of their son."
Gibbons said she would spare no expense to capture Goldman. If Sapiro hadn't thwarted her efforts, Gibbons said, Goldman would be in jail.
On Jan. 1, Sapiro told police her husband was shopping with her in New Jersey the night Zonis was slain. Store surveillance cameras showed that Sapiro had shopped alone that night. Sapiro also backed up Goldman's story that he had cut his hand while chopping firewood.
On Jan. 7, a search warrant issued in Burlington County turned up a photograph of Zonis, bloody bandages, and Band-Aids in Goldman's trash. That night, when detectives tried to reach Goldman, Sapiro told them he was in Washington on business.
On Jan. 9, when police confronted Sapiro with evidence, she admitted that her husband was not with her at the time of Zonis' death and that he had confessed to her that night, Gibbons said.
She also told investigators that she and Goldman's parents drove Goldman to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where Goldman and his father boarded a flight to Europe. She said Edward Goldman was aware then that his son had killed Zonis.
Goldman's father then returned to the United States.
Sapiro told police that the last time she saw her in-laws was on Jan. 10, when all three of them went to visit Sapiro's and Goldman's 22-month-old son in Voorhees Pediatric Hospital. The child has been hospitalized much of its life, Gibbons said, after being born premature.
Sapiro said they told her, " 'We can't live anymore.' "
Her mother-in-law asked her to translate a suicide note that she had written in Russian. She then gave Sapiro $20,000 and jewelry, including the couple's wedding bands.
Contact staff writer Christine Schiavo at 215-348-0337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inquirer staff writers Dwayne Campbell and Larry King contributed to this article.