It took me nearly 400 days to research and write this unique true crime story. It all started when I was researching something else for this newspaper and I saw in the January 7, 1985 edition of The Palm Beach Post — a blurb about some unsolved cases from the year before.
Right there at the top was Jeffrey Heagerty's name. His body was found floating in a canal on July 1, 1984 in Royal Palm Beach. Fully dressed with his right arm reaching forward and his penis exposed through his fly, he had last been seen at Kevin's Cabaret, a popular West Palm Beach gay club the night before.
Looking into the case more I learned of all sorts of twists and turns. It was a cold case for many years and its solution came from a man who was in the Palm Beach County Jail for murdering his own partner, who had been Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago butler. Learning the story was simply the beginning...
Digging through countless microfilmed police files and viewing official police photographs of the 1984 crime lead me to some people who were still alive today and could give me insight on the case and what it was like to be a young gay male in South Florida in 1984 as well what Jeff was like as a human being. Jeff's mother and youngest brother, all that is left of his family, were also touched by the idea that I wanted to author a true crime novel in book form about Jeff's life and untimely death.
From there I was able to construct an interesting story...a story that tells of Palm Beach County's gay community before the major onslaught of the AIDS crisis through the life of this average young man who aspired to be a cosmetologist had his life not been cut short.
The book, titled “Solving the West Palm Beach Murder of Jeffrey Heagerty,” is filled with photographs, names, and places many may remember of Palm Beach County and the surrounding area's gay community.
You can find a copy at most book stores throughout South Florida or online at Amazon.com