Burt Pugach gained national attention in the 1950s after he was sent to prison for blinding his girlfriend with lye after she broke up with him. Fourteen years later, the New York City lawyer wrangled in headlines once again when it was revealed that after all of this, he persuaded his victim, Linda Riss, to marry him.
Now, almost 46 years after their marriage, Pugach’s story is headlining websites again. This time, as a result of his death, which occurred on Christmas Eve, and triggered another bizarre tale.
The 93-year-old lawyer made naional headlines for the first time in 1959 when he was 31 years old and cheating on his wife.
In 1959 Pugach was a New York-based lawyer who began a courtship with Linda Riss who was 21-years-old and from the East Bronx. When Riss learned that Pugach was married and had a daughter, she broke off their relationship. Enraged, Pugach threatened to kill or hurt Riss saying “If I can’t have you, no one else will have you, and when I get through with you no one else will want you.”
Riss reported the threat to the New York Police Department but did not receive help. When she became engaged to another man she was violated by Pugach who hired three assailants to attack her. The attackers threw lye in Riss’s face, leaving her blind in one eye, almost blind in the other, and forever scarred.
Bizarrely, in 1974, after spending 14 years in prison for the crime, Pugach and Riss resumed their relationship and married. In 1976 they even co-wrote a book, A Very Different Love Story. This story gets weirder (and it doesn’t end here): in 1997, Linda supported Pugarch and appeared at a trial as a character witness for him when he was accused of threatening another woman with whom he had an affair.
Linda died of heart failure on January 22, 2013, and in 2007 their story was produced into a documentary called Crazy Love which was directed by Dan Klores.
Now, years later, Pugach is in the news after he died and it was revealed that he left his $15 million estate to a female caregiver.
According to Daily Mail, “the funds have been frozen by a judge after friends and former colleagues accused Shamin ‘Sheila’ Frawley of coercing Pugach into changing his will after he suffered a stroke.”
Court documents obtained by Daily Mail alleged that Frawley, 52, withheld food and medicine from him until he died. “Pugach revised his will at least five times after Linda succumbed to heart failure in 2013, gifting differing amounts to friends, but always leaving the bulk of the money to a foundation for the visually impaired set up in his late wife’s honor.”
Peter S. Thomas, the foundation’s attorney noted that ‘Burt lived his entire life for Linda. I cannot imagine that under any circumstances, as incapacitated as he was, that he would even think to cut out the foundation.”
The tragic story of Gabriel Fernandez, an eight-year-old boy who was abused and tortured by his own family members made headlines last year when his story was created into a Netflix documentary. The six-part crime documentary detailed how Fernandez’s murder came about due to local government failure and was a reminder that we all have a responsibility to keep our eyes out for victims.
Now, an Orlando waitress is being hailed for doing just that.
Flavaine Carvalho saved a child abuse victim after spotting bruises on the boy’s face and arms.
Carvalho (who works as a waitress at Mrs. Potato restaurant in Orlando, Florida) was on the clock on New Year’s Day serving a family that had walked into the restaurant when she noticed their 11-year-old boy. Realizing that the boy had nothing to eat, Carvalho asked if there was something wrong with the food. The boy’s stepfather explained that the boy would eat dinner at home later. It was then that Carvalho noticed bruises on the boy’s face and arms.
“I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” Carvalho explained in a press conference to FOX 35. “Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.”
It was then that Carvalho said she knew that she had to do something. “I could not see the boy going away without any help,” she explained.
Coming up with a plan, Carvalho wrote a large note to the boy that read “Do you need help?”
The waitress stood behind the boy’s parents so that they couldn’t see and held up the sign for the boy. When he nodded, Carvalho immediately called the police.
According to the 911 call, Carvalho told the dispatcher “I’m super concerned and I don’t know what to do, can you give me some advice?” Carvalho said to the dispatcher. “The boy is with bruises and he’s not eating.”
After authorities arrived, they interviewed the boy, who accused his stepfather of abuse, saying that he been tied up, hung from a door, hit with a broom, and handcuffed. The boy also said that his parents kept food from him as punishment.
Police claimed that the doctors who examined the boy said that they found bruises on his face and arms and said that he was approximately 20 pounds underweight.
Police confirmed that the boy’s stepfather has been charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. The boy’s mother has been charged with two counts of child neglect and admitted to knowing about the abuse and failing to help him.
The boy and another 4-year-old child were fortunately removed from the home and are now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Almost a year after her father Kobe Bryant passed, Natalia Bryant is gearing up for college and celebrating her life in progress. On Tuesday, to celebrate her daughter’s 18th birthday, Vanessa Bryant showered her daughter with tributes and words of wisdom in an Instagram post.
Vanessa posted a handful of tributes to Natalia on Instagram, including old photos of the 18-year-old her father, Kobe.
The late LA Laker, who died last year on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter (Gianna) and several others in a tragic helicopter crash, could be seen in the photos. In one of the images, Vanessa and Kobe held baby Natalia in an image taken on the Los Angeles Lakers court.
“Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️🎉🎂🎉#18#BirthdayGirl,” Bryant captioned one of the photos.
In another post, Vanessa expressed how proud she was of the woman Natalia has become.
“Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives,” she wrote in the post. “Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa!”
Last week, Bryant revealed that Natalia has college on the mind.
In a separate post shared to Instagram, Vanesa revealed that her daughter has New York on the mind when it comes to getting her Bachelor’s. “NYU is one of her top schools. (@nataliabryant chose not to apply ED to her top 5 schools). I will do my best to keep her in Cali just like I kept her daddy here,” she commented.
There’s no doubt that in the wake of her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant and her family have received quite the outpour of support from fans. Look up just about any hashtag with their names and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of images of the two deceased Bryant family members and just about as many fan accounts. The images and tributes have meant to be a eulogy to the two basketball players that lost their lives too soon.
Yet, recently Vanessa Bryant revealed that the ongoing support hasn’t always been so positive for her.
In June, Vanessa Bryant opened up about having to take action and remove herself from all the social media love she and her family have received in the five months since her husband and daughter’s deaths.
In a post to her Instagram page, the mother of four, sent a note to fans to let them know that she and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalia, had decided to block fan pages in an effort to keep away from the constant pictures of Kobe and Gianna popping up on their “Explore” pages. In her post, Bryant underlined that she was only blocking the accounts to make sure she was continuing to heal and that it was not being done out of malice.
“Thx so much for all the [love]. @nataliabryant and I have unfortunately had to block fan pages because it’s been really hard to go online and constantly see pics of our beloved Gigi and Kobe under every single square of our explore pages. Blocking the fan pages has helped change the algorithm,” Bryant wrote in a post to her Stories on Instagram.
Vanessa continued to explain that “We [love] you all but please understand that we had to do this for our own healing not because we don’t appreciate your [love].”
Bryant’s Instagram page was made to be private soon after her husband’s death likely for similar reasons.
In a separate Instagram story to her own account Vanessa’s daughter Natalia shared, “We hope that people understand although these fan pages have good intentions, they make moving forward harder since they are constant reminders. Blocking the accounts have helped change the algorithm but we can not go public until the fan pages stop. We love all of your sweet intentions and we hope you understand.”
Understandably, Bryant and her daughter are sheltering themselves from further hurt during this time.
Here’s hoping their fans continue to support them through this decision and understand their motives. Fortunately, while Bryant and her daughter Natalia have made their accounts private, they are still making their content available through other pages. Recently, Bryant revealed that she had decided to pay tribute to her late husband and daughter Gigi by commemorating their lives with tattoos.
Last week, Bryant took to Instagram to reveal she’d made the decision to honor her husband and daughter with two new tattoos.
Both images were shared with the public via Nikko Hurtado, the artist behind Vanessa’s ink work.
“Shoutout to @nikkohurtado for coming over and helping me get my Gigi’s sweet message transferred on me,” she wrote in a caption to her Instagram page featuring a video of her new tattoo honoring her daughter. The details of the tattoo aren’t totally visible but in the comments, Bryant revealed that the tattoo features her late daughter’s handwriting. “So happy I can see my Gigi’s handwriting everyday ❤️ #mambacita,” she replied.
Bryant also shared a video of herself receiving another tattoo, this time for Kobe.
In a post to her Instagram page, Bryant shared another video of herself. This time the video revealed that she was actively receiving a shoulder tattoo that is meant to honor her husband.
“I wanted my boo boo’s @kobebryant sweet message transferred on me,” Bryant explained in the caption of the photo.
For fans of the Bryants it’s important to note that while Vanessa and Natalia aren’t looking at fan accounts, the art is still available for you to view if it makes you feel better during this time.
Additionally, fans who want to keep up with Vanessa and Natalia and see how they continue to heal can follow friend accounts or stay in touch with us for updates!