Frederick Hart was the baby of the family.
In a large family full of step- and half-siblings, he was the youngest, and the most troubled.
“His father passed away just a couple of years before (1990) and he didn't take it too well,” Hart’s step-sister Susan Dubberly said Wednesday two days after Steven L. Goff, of Ventnor, turned himself in to Galloway police and confessed to killing Hart on May 7, 1990.
After his father passed away from skin cancer, “Freddy” started getting in with the wrong crowd, Dubberly said.
To try and help her younger brother, Dubberly had Hart visit her in Fernandina Beach, Fla. He had also spent many summers with his half-sister Kathy Fornash in Pennsylvania aswell as vacations visiting many of his eight older siblings.
“We're a big family of step-siblings, but a close one,” Dubberly said in a phone interview.
She said Goff admitting guilt in the killing has brought back all the memories and emotions of the brutal stabbing for the family.
And the question everyone in the family wants answered is why Goff did it and why he admitted it now, Dubberly said.
“It's like having to relive (Hart’s) death all over again,” said Fornash, of Chester Springs, Pa.
While shocked by the sudden confession, the family is glad to know who was responsible for Freddy’s death.
“We knew, when they found Freddy, they told (his mother) how he died. That they evidently slit his throat. And the news then said he was stabbed multiple times,” Dubberly said. “That was a lot to hear there.”
May 7 was the day Hart disappeared, but it was different than previous times he had taken off, Dubberly said.
Their mother, Barbara Diane Hart, “in her heart knew something was wrong. Because he had done this before but usually returned,” Dubberly said.
Having spoken to the now 80-year-old mother, Dubberly said her reaction is “the same as me. It has not hit her yet.”
Though she learned of Goff's admittance the day before, Dubberly said she still went to work Wednesday but that keeping up a happy face at her workplace — a hotel in a Florida beach town — was hard.
Fornash said the family remembers Hart fondly, especially her children who were so close in age to their uncle.
“I just want to know why he did it,” Dubberly said of Goff.
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