Irene Silverman Murder – In 1998, Sante and Kenny Kimes conspired to steal the Manhattan mansion of their 82-year-old landlady, Irene Silverman – a renowned socialite – by impersonating her. They rented a room at Silverman’s mansion in June to carry out their plan. On July 5, 1998, though, Silverman went missing after an extensive investigation that led all the way to Mount Olive, New Jersey.
Sante and Kenny Kimes were convicted of Silverman’s murder in 2000 despite the absence of her body. The case rested on notebooks found in Kimes’ possession that contained details about the incident as well as notes written by Silverman herself, who was highly suspicious of them both.
Throughout their stay at Silverman’s mansion, the Kimeses repeatedly demanded her ID and Social Security number and refused to let housekeepers into their room. Additionally, they disregarded security cameras installed in the lobby.
Blood and Money Season 1 Episode 5, titled “High Society Schemers,” tells the story of Irene Silverman’s murder and investigation. Let’s dive in and check out more on this case.
Irene Silverman: Murder Story – Who Killed Her?
Irene Silverman was a well-known socialite who owned an extravagant multimillion-dollar townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. At 82 years old, she enjoyed entertaining guests and hosting extravagant parties to live life to the fullest; with too much room for one person alone to live comfortably in, Irene began renting rooms out to wealthy clients – unaware that this arrangement would eventually lead to her tragic demise.
On July 5, 1998, Irene Silverman disappeared from her townhouse – the first time her weekend housekeeper Aracelis Riviera noticed that the bedroom door had been left locked. The police were informed, and multiple search parties were formed to locate her, but her whereabouts remained unknown. Due to her advanced age, the investigation was prioritized; police interviewed her caregivers and searched her home.
Later it was determined that Irene had likely been tasered before being strangled to death, yet her body has yet to be found. The investigation led to Manny Guerrin, with whom Irene had an argument shortly before her disappearance; however, it was the arrest of Sante Kimes and her son Kenny Kimes on unrelated grand theft charges which ultimately connected them to Irene’s disappearance.
Police discovered the Kimeses had already been renting a room at Silverman’s townhouse under false identities. Evidence connecting them to Irene’s disappearance led them to custody, where police discovered several items such as syringes, stun guns, handguns and Rohypnol – a date rape drug.
Authorities could not charge the Kimes with Irene Silverman’s murder despite circumstantial evidence. Sante launched a press campaign from behind bars and maintained her innocence; however, police eavesdropped on her calls and arrested her when she hired a private investigator to retrieve a bag from a hotel room. This bag contained notebooks outlining Sante and Kenny’s plans to con Irene Silverman, along with a .22 calibre handgun, four Social Security cards, plastic handcuffs, wigs, identifications and a forged deed.
The Kimeses were ultimately found guilty of all charges brought against them at trial, including three counts of second-degree murder, one count of robbery and conspiracy, sixteen counts of forgery, and twenty-nine counts each of eavesdropping. Sante and Kenny received lengthy prison terms – 120 and 125 years, respectively – for their crimes.
The case of Irene Silverman garnered widespread media coverage due to its bizarre nature and the notorious reputation of the Kimes family, who had been involved in other criminal activities before. The story behind the arrest and capture of the Kimeses can be read in “Blood and Money: High Society Schemers.” At the same time, Irene’s tragic and senseless death is a cautionary tale about hidden dangers, even among wealthy communities.