News of Josh Rubin’s grisly murder has shaken Ditmas Park, where he had just opened his popular, but struggling, Whisk Bakery Café. Here’s how it all went down:
• Oct. 31 afternoon: Josh Rubin works his shift at the cafe, but is seen looking distraught and chain-smoking, according to patrons.
• Oct. 31 evening: Rubin phones in the next day’s bagel order and leaves his apartment on foot around 9 pm to meet a friend, said his roommates.
• Nov. 1: Rubin doesn’t show up for his opening shift at Whisk — the day his first rent payment is due, claims co-op president Chris Houghton. A doorman notices something is awry when the bagel delivery isn’t picked up. Around the same time — nearly 100 miles away — a road worker clearing branches after a storm in Lehigh County, Penn. finds Rubin’s smoldering corpse in an apple orchard. Police from the S. Whitehall Township receive a call about the body at 8:39 am, but find that it is burned beyond recognition. Back in Brooklyn, police from the 70th Precinct file a missing person report that afternoon.
• Nov. 2: Worker Paige Lipari shows up to open Whisk, which remains open for two hours until she learns from a customer that Rubin is missing and closes up. The Brooklyn Paper learns that Rubin was trying to sell the cafe he had opened less than two months before. Police from the 70th Precinct say that Rubin was in a “depressed state” around the time of his disappearance and note that he suffered from bipolar disorder.
• Nov. 3: Rubin’s family creates the “Find Josh Rubin” Facebook page and Google map to coordinate a search.
• Nov. 4: Rubin’s family hires private investigator and former NYPD Det. Eric Lopez to assist police. Lopez checks hospitals, morgues and even the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan.
• Nov. 5: Friends and family flood the borough with missing posters.
• Nov. 5-12: Some posters are ripped down from the neighborhood, including one in the front of the Ox Cart Tavern on Newkirk Avenue.
• Nov. 16: Ditmas Park resident and musician Zach Boyce says Rubin was about to sublet his apartment to him before he vanished.
• Nov. 16: Pennsylvania police release sketches of Rubin. Lehigh County’s district attorney says he believes that Rubin, whose identity was still unknown at this point, was killed somewhere else and then dumped and set on fire in the Keystone State, according to the radio station WFMZ.
• Nov. 19: Rubin’s family holds a press conference on the steps of the 70th Precinct on Lawrence Avenue — half a block away from Rubin’s old apartment — and announces a $5,000 reward for information about his whereabouts. No police show up.
• Nov. 28-Dec. 2: Eric Lopez receives an erroneous tip from an anonymous source that Rubin is in Coney Island.
• Dec. 5: The NYPD transfers the case over to its “Missing Persons” squad, and says the case is no longer a criminal matter
• Dec. 21: Authorities in Lehigh County identify the body as Josh Rubin’s through DNA testing.
• Dec. 22: Distraught neighbors and patrons set up a small memorial in front of the shuttered cafe. Police say they believe Rubin knew his killer.
• Dec. 24: The New York Post reports that Rubin was dealing marijuana.
• Dec. 27: Josh Rubin is buried in Warwick, Rhode Island — his home state.
Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/from_where_isit.