Ex-surgeon confesses throwing wife’s body from airplane in 1985

Ex-surgeon confesses throwing wife's body from airplane in 1985

A former Manhattan plastic surgeon convicted in his missing wife’s murder has fessed up to tossing her body from a private plane into the Atlantic Ocean, more than three decades later.

Dr. Robert Bierenbaum, a trained pilot serving 20 years to life in prison, admitted to the crime at a parole hearing for the first time since his wife, Gail Katz, 29, vanished in 1985, ABC News’ “20/20” reported.

“I went flying. I opened the door and then took her body out of the airplane over the ocean,” Bierenbaum told the parole board in December 2020, according to a newly obtained transcript.

Bierenbaum told the board that he strangled her in a fit of rage because he was “immature” and “didn’t understand how to deal with his anger,” the outlet reported.

“I wanted her to stop yelling at me, and I attacked her,” he said.

Though Katz’s body has never been found, Bierenbaum was found guilty of her murder in 2000.

Bierenbaum       Copy photos  Robert and Gail Birenbaum
Robert Bierenbaum said he strangled his wife, Gail Katz, in 1985 in a fit of rage because he was “immature.”
Don HalasyNY Post

Prosecutors were able to secure the conviction based on circumstantial evidence, presenting a theory of what happened to Katz identical to the doctor’s confession.

“I was like, ‘Holy s—, are you kidding me?’” one of the prosecutors, Dan Bibb, told the outlet of the admission.

“I was stunned because I always thought that that day would never come, that he would own up, take responsibility for having killed his wife.”

Bierenbaum was denied parole. His next hearing before the board is set for November.

Katz’s family has found little solace in the bombshell confession.

“This is exactly the same man that I knew 35 years ago,” Katz’s sister, Alayne Katz, told ABC News. “He hasn’t changed … he is incapable of a shred of remorse.”

She added, “My sister’s body has never been found … Gail doesn’t rest anywhere.”

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