Cover image for Shattered bonds : a true story of suspicious death, family betrayal and a daughter's courage
Shattered bonds : a true story of suspicious death, family betrayal and a daughter's courage
Band, Cindy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Far Hills, N.J. : New Horizon Press, [2003 [that is, 2002]

©2003 [that is, 2002]
Physical Description:
xix, 324 pages, 4 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6534.N5 B36 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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When sixteen-year-old Cindy Band returns home late one night, she finds her home teeming with police and her mother dead at the bottom of the basement stairs, supposedly the victim of an accident. In the days that follow, she sees signs that her father is not the grieving husband her professes to be. Suspicious, she goes to the police.With danger and violent threats mounting against her, Cindy bravely pursues her mother's killer and fights to achieve justice, even though her own lifeis at stake.

Author Notes

Cindy Band, formerly a customer service manager for a computer company, is currently a special events manager at a popular restaurant in Florida, La Vieille Maison. She lives in Delray Beach, Florida, where she is establishing a support group for those who have had a family member murdered.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

When 42-year-old Florence Band, a resident of Old Westbury, N.Y., died from an apparent fall down a basement staircase in her English Tudor mansion in 1980, the official cause of death was listed as "undetermined." Her husband, Howard, claimed she had been carrying leftovers to a freezer when she fell, yet Homicide Det. John Sharkey noted rope marks on her wrists and ankles and inconsistencies in Howard's account of events. Band's daughter, Cindy, then 16, had her own suspicions and helped Sharkey during his investigation. Remarried in 1981, Howard Band was living in Delray Beach, Fla., when he was arrested on murder charges in 1983. After a jury found Band guilty of asphyxiating his wife, he was given a sentence of 25 years to life and died in prison a decade later. Now an events manager for Florida's popular La Vieille Maison restaurant, Cindy Band teamed with crime journalist Malear (Medical Murderers; Murder and Mayhem) to document her emotional upheaval, her fears of her father and how her "privileged childhood" turned tragic and troubled. While the elements of a potentially engrossing true crime tale are all here, the soap-opera melodramatics generate little suspense. Strangely. Cindy's memories are not expressed in first person. A straightforward, factual account, following the familiar conventions of true-crime reporting, would have been preferable to this overcooked approach. (Sept. 28) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Young and Invincible In the impressive English Tudor mansion at 9 Horseshoe Road on that steamy August afternoon, Cindy Band's parents were entertaining. At sixteen, Cindy couldn't get excited about her parents' friends coming over for a swim and dinner. After all, with a fantastic home, a live-in maid and plenty of luxuries and money, Howard and Florence Band often entertained. And, as always, the house looked fantastic. Before the housekeeper left for the weekend, she'd vacuumed the Oriental carpets, polished the ornate furniture, dusted the original oil paintings and shined the downstairs picture window. Her parents' friends were okay. They were fine, in fact. No problem there. It was just that Cindy had more important things to think about. Her mind, as she seated herself at the butcher-block table in the kitchen, was on tonight's party at her friend Dina's house. Yesterday morning, her mother had taken Cindy for a manicure at Ambiance , one of the poshest beauty salons around. The stylist had set her long hair in a really neat hairdo-a handful of her auburn locks pulled off to one side in a pony tail, which was accented with different color bands and shiny ribbons hanging down. And Isla, who had her own exclusive brand of Isla cosmetics at the salon, had shown her how to apply the wonderfully subtle and soft makeup to her skin. Her mother always saw to it that Cindy had extra attention when getting ready for special occasions. There were times when Cindy felt overprotected, but she had to admit she enjoyed all the pampering. Her mother made her feel loved. Today, Cindy was giving herself a pedicure at the kitchen table. She wondered, as she chose a matching polish for her toes, whether her friend Neil would be at the party. Neil Ferrick was a terrific guy, slight, with fair skin and blue eyes, whose curly, sandy-blond hair often looked wild and untamed, like a surfer's. Maybe she'd give him a call later on. He had a girlfriend, Shannon, but Cindy knew Neff was her friend, too. Through the double doors that led from the kitchen to the patio, Cindy could see and hear her parents and the Robertsons laughing and splashing. The Robertsons' kids, Tara and Seth, were in the pool, too. It was clear that everybody was having fun. More power to them. But tonight, Cindy would not stay and help clean up. For a minute, she forgot the housekeeper was off for the weekend. No matter. Mom and Ellen Robertson didn't mind cleaning up anyway. It gave them a chance to `talk without the men horning in. After all, Mrs. Robertson was Mom's best friend. Being in education, they both liked to gab about school stuff and the advanced degrees on which they both were working. The second her best friend Carol arrived, Cindy intended to split. Oh, she'd be nice to the Robertsons and their children. She'd been raised to be polite. She might even join them for a short while in the pool, after she changed into her new black bikini. She realized her folks were very generous; they gave her and her sister Paula whatever they wanted and she was grateful. It was just that there were so many more important things to do than make boring small talk about things that didn't even interest her. It was always the same: "Cindy, you've grown so," etc., etc. Still, she didn't want to be rude. She'd do a lap or two in the pool to make her parents happy. "Cindy, come out here this minute!" Her father's booming voice startled her. "Cindy, don't you ever hear me call?" She turned to see her father entering the kitchen, the paunch he lately sported hanging over the top of his swimsuit, dripping water on the kitchen floor. He hadn't bothered to wrap a towel around himself. "Cindy Band, I'm talking to you!" "What do you want, Dad? I'm busy!" She noted his frown, his reddening face. "I want you to be halfway civil. We're having company, you understand me?" His voice showed his exasperation. He was flailing his arms, a habit he had. "Why aren't you swimming in the pool with our friends?" "I was just coming." Not wanting to meet his eyes, Cindy turned back to fixing her toenails. "Besides, Paula doesn't have to cater to your friends. You let her go off camping. Your precious Paula doesn't ever have to do anything she doesn't want to do. You never criticize her like you do me all the time." She heard him suck in his breath. Uh-oh, shouldn't have said that , she thought. She'd gone over the line. Her father could be simply terrible when he got angry. She still remembered the smacks she'd gotten when she was younger just for asking too many questions-like "Are we there yet?" when they were on a trip. Quickly, she screwed the lid on her polish, placing it and the nail file in her manicure kit. He was standing close to her with his hands balled into fists. She wondered what he was going to do. She supposed all fathers acted this way. And then parents wonder why their kids rebel , she mused. They both turned when Florence Band opened the patio door. Her reddish blond hair was covered with a cap. Looking at her mother, Cindy thought, Mommy is really nice looking for a woman of forty-two . Right now, a beach robe hid her lush curves. Nobody could ever say Florence Band wasn't a lady. She was always modest. Florence spoke in her usual soft voice. "My goodness, you're both in here. Why don't you come on out to the pool, dear?" She patted Cindy's cheek with cool fingers. "Okay, Mommy, sure. I'll go get my suit." "And don't wear that bikini in front of the Robertsons," her father said, raising his voice again. "You look like a tramp!" Gritting her teeth and glad to escape a confrontation, Cindy grabbed her belongings and rushed from the room. Then the quarreling started. She could hear her parents as she started up the stairs. "You're ruining her self-esteem. She's a nice girl; she gets As and Bs in school. Couldn't you be a little less critical? She's a really good kid." "It's you-you spoil the hell out of her! She needs discipline and I'm the only one who gives it, so don't tell me what to do. I'm the one who makes the rules here." Cindy could picture her father waving his arms around. She was aware that many women found him good-looking, but he was a short man with a short man's complex. He had to be the boss. When he was upset or angry, he always raised his voice and waved his arms. "Please, Howard, our guests-they'll hear you. Please keep your voice down!" "Don't tell me what to do, Florence! Sit down. Just remember who pays the bills around here." "I didn't mean to ..." He broke in. "Oh yeah? Then how come you were out there bragging about your father's success again? You make me sick. Always lording it over me. I've told you before and I'll tell you again: Do you know what you and the kids would have, if I weren't working my ass off for your father? You'd have nothing." "I'd have what , Howard?" Florence's voice sounded upset. "Don't start in on me again. Remember, my father took you into the business when you desperately needed a job." Cindy knew this was a sore point between them. She knew that her grandfather-her mother's father-had taken Howard Band into the business and given him a great job. Sure, Cindy's dad had built the company up until they were millionaires, but Cindy knew from hearing her mother and father argue about it so many times, that it was Cindy's grandfather's original business, his inventions. "Oh just forget it! Get back out there and shut up." A loud crash followed and Cindy considered running back down to see what was happening, but she assumed her dad had knocked over a chair or broken a vase in a fit of temper. He'd broken a lot of things lately. Years of childhood self-preservation, however, caused her to run up to her room and put the angry sounds out of her mind as she always had. Cindy's bedroom was her haven, a beautiful, custom designed affair with drapes of burgundy, tan and teal and a swan design that matched the coverlet on her bed. The drapes' reverse side matched the chair and wallpaper. She and Paula shared a big bathroom between their two rooms and each had giant walk-in closets. Kids at school referred to them as the "rich kids." It was true, she and Paula had a luxurious life, Cindy told herself as she stepped out of her clothes. Her mother and father spoiled them. They gave them any material things they wanted. But there were times, like now, that Cindy would have given anything to have had a happy family. Since that was impossible or so it seemed, she just wanted to get away, get out of the house. All the tension around made her feel sick to her stomach. She felt like flaring out at both of them to stop, just stop . But, as always, Cindy only ran from the loud voices. She wanted them to be a normal family, to get along with each other. Dad had always been hotheaded, but the family used to have so much fun. Trips to Grandma's, amusement parks-so many good times. Cruises to Mexico, Spain and Cape Cod. Such joy. She hated seeing and hearing her folks quarreling all the time. She couldn't wait to get away! That's what she needed: to be with her friends and calm down. She never drank more than an occasional beer, but after this latest tirade between her parents, she was feeling shaky. Maybe at the party she'd have two. Cindy dressed hurriedly for the pool, choosing an older, more conservative, one-piece swimsuit rather than the new bikini. No need to make Daddy angry. He gets angry enough without a reason , she thought. It was after she'd come downstairs and joined her parents and their friends, that she heard the doorbell ring. Her father was napping in a lounge chair. He was always after her about being rude. Wasn't it a rude thing for him to nod off in front of company? Cindy bit her lip. Quickly, she climbed out of the pool to answer the door. To her surprise, before she could even grab a towel, her father jumped up and went to the door. He was back a moment later. "Hey, Florence," he called. "Some strange woman's car has broken down out in front of our driveway. Listen, I'll go see if I can give her a hand, okay?" Before her mother could respond, he left. Cindy heard the front door slam. Since by now she had toweled off sufficiently to enter the house, she ran over to the dining room window to check on the "strange woman" with the broken down car. Outside she saw a Cadillac with its hood up. Leaning against the car was her father. He appeared to be speaking animatedly to the woman. From that distance, Cindy couldn't see her very clearly except to notice that her hair was long and blonde. "There's something familiar about that woman talking to Dad," Cindy murmured to herself. When nothing came to mind, she tucked the thought away and went back out to the pool. After dinner that evening, her friend Carol came to the house. The two teens skipped upstairs to Cindy's bedroom to finish getting ready for the party. "I'm so full!" Cindy told Carol as she wriggled into new jeans, which fit her body like a second skin. "Mom's a gourmet cook, you know. Her spaghetti Bolognese is the best! And we've been snacking all day-like on veggies, finger sandwiches, blueberries, cheese-even caviar. Wow, I'm totally stuffed!" "You're lucky you're naturally petite and slim. You don't ever have to count calories, do you?" Carol observed. Some time after eight o'clock, Cindy picked up her telephone and dialed her good pal Neff to tell him about the arrangements for that evening while Carol sat on the bed beside her. "Yeah, Neil, the party's at Dina's." She laughed and said, "It's going to be a blast. Everybody will be there. You'll come? Cool! Do you think I can get a ride home with you afterwards, please? Great, Thanks! Yeah, Carol's here right now, but she gets to stay out later than me, you know, so I definitely need an early ride home. Billy Kelly is going to take us there. Okay, see ya. Bye." "Well, are he and Shannon coming to the party?" Carol asked. When Cindy nodded, the two girls high-rived, theft hands making a clapping sound. Catching sight of the jewelry her friend was wearing, Cindy opened her velvet jewel box and held up a Gucci necklace of stunning beads. "Should I wear this?" she asked. Carol agreed, her eyes wide, and then helped Cindy fasten the clasp, as well as the clasp on a gold chain bracelet with diamonds. Cindy decided to add hoop earrings, her own custom designed pair, which sported sparkling, diamond chips. She went to the full-length mirror, studying the effect for several seconds. A car horn honked. Carol rushed to the window and waved. "Billy's here!" The girls picked up their purses and were set to leave when Cindy's mother came into the room. "Great food, Mom. Thanks," Cindy said. "Listen, Mom, Carol and I are ready to take off now." "Do you have to, hon?" She took the girls hand. "Maybe you could stay home this one time, Cindy?" Florence's big brown eyes bore a pleading look. Cindy knew her mother wanted her to stay. But at sixteen years of age, Cindy was a typical teenager, a little selfish, a little self-centered. Impatient, she pulled back and said, "No, Mom, I just can't . We're going to the most important party of the summer. Everybody will be there! We have to go-Billy's waiting for us down at the end of the driveway, so we've got to hurry." Cindy took Carol's arm to steer her out the door, but Florence, who'd dashed to her bedroom, returned with two boxes. "Look, Cindy, I've got some new clothes for you, honey. Maybe Carol would like to see them, too." Florence Band laid the boxes on Cindy's bed and opened the lids on them both. She held up a dainty apricot pantsuit trimmed in aqua embroidery. "Look, hon, here's one that ..." "Mo-o-m, please. I just can't look now! Cut me some slack! We don't have time. Later, okay?" Cindy gave her mother a quick peck, skimming her hair. Florence Band looked so sad that her daughter stopped. "You know I love you, don't you, Mom? I'll call you later from the party." "We'll be home all night, Cindy. Don't forget to call," her mother replied, resignation in her voice. "You know I love you, don't you Mom?" she repeated. Her mother smiled and nodded. Cindy and Carol ran out the bedroom door and down the staircase. At the foot of the stairs, Cindy looked back up at her mother, who'd followed the girls into the hall, and waved. Cindy smiled, throwing her mother a kiss. As they walked away, she said to Carol, "I am really proud of her. Really. In just two more months, my mom will be Dr. Florence Band. Can you believe it? And guess what? She's so modest, she doesn't want to be called `doctor' at all." "That's awesome! And your mom does a lot of charity work, too. Continue... Excerpted from SHATTERED BONDS by Cindy Band and Julie Malear Copyright © 2003 by Cindy Band and Julie Malear Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Prologuep. xvii
Chapter 1 Young and Invinciblep. 1
Chapter 2 An Ominous Sundayp. 11
Chapter 3 Of Accidents and Crimesp. 23
Chapter 4 Disturbing Questionsp. 33
Chapter 5 Wearing Blackp. 43
Chapter 6 Funeral Ritesp. 57
Chapter 7 Grave Suspicionsp. 63
Chapter 8 Such Good Friendsp. 67
Chapter 9 School Woesp. 75
Chapter 10 Dark Hunchesp. 85
Chapter 11 An Ill-Omened Offerp. 93
Chapter 12 Searching for More Leadsp. 99
Chapter 13 Shadowed Homecomingp. 103
Chapter 14 Lethal Visionp. 115
Chapter 15 Preparing for Anguishp. 119
Chapter 16 Witness for the Prosecutionp. 131
Chapter 17 Grand Jury Questionsp. 135
Chapter 18 Walking a Tightropep. 139
Chapter 19 Hellish Summerp. 147
Chapter 20 Deadly Repetitionp. 153
Chapter 21 Romantic Interludep. 159
Chapter 22 Fractured Wedding Bellsp. 171
Chapter 23 Some Kind of Lifep. 179
Chapter 24 Death and Other Lossesp. 185
Chapter 25 Tense Timesp. 195
Chapter 26 Treacherous Talesp. 205
Chapter 27 Moving Things Alongp. 213
Chapter 28 Wiredp. 223
Chapter 29 The Grand Jury Reconvenesp. 231
Chapter 30 New and Old Dangersp. 239
Chapter 31 On Trialp. 257
Chapter 32 Conquests and Betrayalsp. 273
Chapter 33 Aftermathp. 291
Chapter 34 Deadly Confessionsp. 301
Epiloguep. 315
Afterwordp. 323