Deborah Taylor

Taylor, circa 1994

  • Missing Since 09/10/1994
  • Missing From Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Black
  • Date of Birth 02/06/1952 (72)
  • Age 42 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6, 145 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Pontiac Grand Am (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Taylor's name may be spelled "Debra." Her ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Taylor and her boyfriend, 39-year-old Richard Ablamsky, left Virginia Beach, Virginia on September 3, 1994 en route to Fairfax, Virginia.

Ablamsky was a married father of two young children, and he had been having an affair with Taylor with about nine years. He paid her expenses and took her on vacations all over the country and to the Bahamas. His wife was aware of the affair.

Ablamsky lived in New Milford, New Jersey and had worked as an engineer for Frederic R. Harris Inc. since 1989. Part of his job involved consulting with the New York Port Authority on rail projects.

Taylor was born in Brooklyn, New York and later lived in Queens. She is divorced and has three children. By July 1994, she had grown tired of Ablamsky's refusal to leave his wife and moved to Virginia with her five-year-old granddaughter for a new start. Ablamsky drove there every weekend to see her.

In early September 1994, Ablamsky told Taylor he was getting a divorce and his company was transferring him to the Washington D.C. area. (He had, in fact, been fired on September 2 for poor work habits and "bizarre behavior.")

He and Taylor checked into a Marriott Residence Inn in Tysons Corner, Virginia on September 9. A friend of Taylor's was caring for her granddaughter.

Ablamsky bought a gun, and later Taylor called her mother on September 10 and said they'd spent the day practicing at the firing range. This is the last time anyone heard from her. Later, Ablamsky called Taylor's mother and said she'd simply left him, taking a taxi away from the hotel.

Ablamsky checked out of the hotel room alone that same day. He told hotel staff he was leaving but his "wife" was staying. On September 12, he called Taylor's granddaughter's babysitter to say he was back in New Jersey and that Taylor had left him. She told him to return to Virginia, pick up Taylor's granddaughter and take her to Taylor's mother's home in Brooklyn.

He arrived the following afternoon; the babysitter noted he looked "terrible" and appeared tired and disoriented. He was unshaven and his shirt was on backwards, which was uncharacteristic of him; he was usually well-dressed.

On September 16, Ablamsky called two of Taylor's friends to ask if they'd heard from her. They hadn't. He spoke about Taylor in the past tense, said he couldn't live without her and threatened suicide.

That afternoon, he broke into the Garden City, New Jersey home of his former boss, John Dionisio, Frederic R. Harris Inc.'s executive vice-president. Ablamsky set the ground floor on fire, went upstairs and shot himself to death in one of the bedrooms. Although Dionisio's wife and young son were at home at the time of the break-in, they were not harmed.

Ablamsky left a suicide note claiming he'd spied for Dionisio and passed secret New York Port Authority documents to him, documents which helped Frederic R. Harris Inc. win a multimillion-dollar contract to help build a rail link between New York City's airports and Manhattan. He wrote he was supposed to be promoted for his actions, but instead he had been fired. The note was meant to be his revenge. Ablamsky also wrote he had secretly recorded conversations with Dionisio about the stolen information.

Taylor could not be located after Ablamsky's death. When authorities checked the couple's hotel room on September 17, they found the mattress and walls covered in blood and the bedclothes missing. The staff hadn't cleaned the room because they thought Taylor was still staying there. There was also blood in the interior and trunk of Ablamsky's Pontiac Grand Am.

Ablamsky's actions sparked a corruption investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office that lasted nearly a year. In August 1995, however, the district attorney's office announced they would be dropping the probe and would not take the case to a grand jury, as they could find no evidence to support Ablamsky's allegations.

Investigators believe he killed Taylor, but her body has never been recovered. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Virginia Beach Police Department
  • 757-385-4023
  • 757-385-4101

Source Information

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 14, 2015; date of disappearance corrected, details of disappearance updated.