On December 3rd, 1994, Christine Pascale, a troubled 26-year-old hired a pilot to take her out in a small Cessna for what she claimed was a trip to take aerial photographs. It turned out to be a trip into oblivion.
The plane left Opa-Locka airport, and Christine had indicated an area close to her parent's home in SW miami where she said she wanted to take the photographs. It was only when he felt a gust of wind and turned around to see her a moment before she jumped from the plane that was flying about 5,000 feet from the ground that he realized what her real intentions were.
“I noticed her reaching for something on the rear seat. I assumed it was a camera … A little while later, I heard what sounded like a yell and felt wind in the cabin and noise simultaneously,” pilot Hodelin F. Rene told federal investigators at the time. “I immediately turned toward the sound and she was already partly out of the airplane, and when our eyes met, she jumped out.”
Pascale’s body would have plummeted at 120 miles an hour, with the young woman conscious during the free fall. It would have taken her about 15 seconds to hit the dirt or the mangroves of Biscayne Bay, experts said.
Just days before she fell to her death, Pascale had tried jumping out of another aircraft flying over South Miami-Dade, in the vicinity of the former Burger King headquarters, a NTSB report says. She was unsuccessful.
Pascale’s short life was marred by mental-health problems.
Records show that the would-be pilot began "as a sickly child and grew into a disruptive and violent-tempered adult, living in failure and fantasy, yelling curses and threats, arrested often for disorderly conduct and occasionally for worse things," the Miami Herald reported in 1994.
Pascale pretended to be a jet pilot and aviation business woman, but her license only qualified her to fly a single-engine propeller-driven plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration later revoked it because Pascale lied about her medical history. Since childhood, she had lived on one kidney, and the FAA believed she was schizophrenic, dishonest, compulsive and dangerous.
Pascale’s home life in east Perrine was marked by domestic disputes and a tortured relationship with her father. Police records listed arrests for disorderly conduct, bouncing checks, cheating landlords and two felonies — sticking a man with a knife and fork and forging prescriptions for tranquilizers and painkillers. Pascale even went to jail for punching her younger sister.
"The worst call was from the FAA, telling us that Christine made a report of a missing plane that our son was on and the plane crashed. We told them that we don’t have a son and Christine is a very sick girl,” her father told the Miami Herald back then. “They asked us if she lied a lot, and we said she is a constant liar.”
For more than two decades, mystery has surrounded the disappearance of Christine Pascale, because investigators never found her body.
But Pascale’s relatives got a spark of hope in June 2017, when workers discovered skeletal remains hidden in the brush of a 22-acre nature preserve next to the Palmetto Bay Village Center on Old Cutler Road.
It might take months for forensic anthropologists to identify the skeletal remains, which were found in pieces as workers cleared out invasive plants. The bones may be too old to yield DNA for testing. But Miami-Dade homicide detectives and the medical examiner’s office are exploring the possibility that Pascale’s body might have finally surfaced.
Pasquale's sister said, "Since there is no closure, my mom in her head thinks she is alive, and I know that’s her way of just coping with it. She thinks she had a parachute on and survived and just ran away. I know it doesn’t make sense at all, but maybe just finding her will bring closure.”
Source - Miami Herald
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer