Neuromama Board, Neuromama shareholders;
I am sorry that my involvement with the company resulted in suspension of NeuroMama, Ltd. (NERO) in the stock market.
I take full responsibility for this.
However, if I had to do everything over again … I would do exactly what I did in the first place … I would tell the truth again.
“Honesty is the best policy.” … told me my father … “Honesty is the best policy.” … this is what I tell my kids.
Having passed the first anniversary of my daughter Victoria’s death … with the San Diego Police Department continuing to sandbag the investigation, I have become convinced that the only way to achieve justice for my daughter Vica, and the investigators I have working on the case to present the public with incontrovertible evidence about this killing.
By incontrovertible evidence I mean who, why, when and where. Publicly identifying the murderer, the motive, the time and the location of the killing will force the SDPD to finally act even though it is a year late after the fact.
Let me ask you something. What if one of your children or grandchildren were murdered … cut down when they were barely 20 years old, slaughtered before they had ever even had a legal can of beer?
You’re a smart people, but you don’t have the answer to that question. Nobody … nobody … can know the answer to that question unless it has happened to them. I … I know the answer .. my precious Victoria was beaten, strangled, mutilated and thrown over the side of a boat last year in San Diego Bay.
So I know the answer … but I can’t tell you what it is … it’s too tragic, to horrible, to just plain gut-wrenching to put into words.
Since losing Victoria I’ve redoubled, I’ve tripled my efforts to make NeuroMama the biggest, brightest, most glittering .. the shiniest star in the technology, hospitality and entertainment world.
I’ve used energy I never knew I had. From driving this company, your company and my company, forward 20 hours a day, I’m working 22, often 24, hours a day.
Yeah, yeah, I know what the headshrinkers call it … the call it substitution or sublimation, whatever that means.
I call it building a monument, making a dream come true for someone who will be here … always here with me and you, spiritually, even though she can’t be here in person.
Because Victoria, my Vica, loved Neuromama. Hard as it is to believe of a 20-year-old girl with all the training and competition responsibilities necessary to be a rhythmic gymnastics performer. Hard to believe with all of that plus the usual interests in boys, school, texting … that a 20-year-old girl could also love her father’s company and work with him … partner with him really, to bring it to life.
OK, Vica was brilliant, but that doesn’t explain why she loved and believed in this company. Vica was a child of the internet generation, she knew more about how people use the internet and social technologies than I’ll ever know. I know the technology and the business. But she … she and her friends were the ultimate end users.
They knew where the black holes were … where the Web as we know it was failing to fulfill the needs of her generation and the generations of millennials who followed hers. She was proud of the fact that we produce multi-lingual search engines without any of the results tainted by phony SEO scams.
Like most of her generation, or more than most given her roots in America, Russia and Mexico and her ability to flawlessly speak all three native languages, she was consumed with interest in the world around us.
Victoria … Victoria loved the idea of our new social network without boundaries. A social network without the heavy-handed bureaucracy that controls Facebook. A social network that is like a throwback to the early, let-freedom-ring internet when each user’s voice was as loud as every other user’s. When one or ten or a hundred people’s interests was as important and special as the interests of a million other people or Fortune 500 company.
And Victoria loved our resort concept … she was, after all, a member of the green generation as well as the Internet generation … hotels, fine and casual dining, theme parks, malls and even casinos powered by the sun, all in beautiful classical buildings, all surrounded by lush landscaping kept green by desalinated water, all in one place.
Vica was no gambler. I doubt she ever set foot in a casino except for times when she’d help promote the company by staffing our booth and performing with our cirque artists at Las Vegas trade shows, but she instinctively understood the importance of location.
She understood the importance of locating all these vacation and tourists attractions on one site. She understood what taking 20 or 30 or 40 million vehicles a year off the freeways between a 3D IMAX theater here, and an elegant seafood restaurant there, and a theme park 80 miles down the road somewhere else, and a romantic resort hotel in another place and on and on and on … she understood what saving all that gas, what eliminating all those poisons from the air, would mean to the world she and her generation were going …
I was going … going to say “were going to inherit.” But I can’t say that any more, not now, not ever … sometimes it’s still so hard to believe …
Most of all she loved our work with the children of Mexico. The one’s coming from the direst poverty and the ones who were somewhat better off. She loved the idea of setting up The Little Palace of the Angels, to give them the chance to participate in some of the educational and inspiring things she had the opportunity to pursue … gymnastics, music, creative writing, craftsmanship, art ….
She loved this company and as I said she worked at it as my partner. More than my partner, my fellow dreamer, because she could see the big picture better than anyone else I’ve ever met.
She was my partner at trade shows and meetings with potential political and business allies …. Explaining to them the kind of entertainment and technology we would be bringing to their communities. Her ideas helped shape that entertainment and technology. She was already on the way to becoming one of the truly dynamic female executives that the world needs so many more of when she was so brutally murdered.
And since that day, I’ve been working harder and more frantically than ever to build this thing … to make it a monument to my Victoria that no one can challenge.
But that story, the story of my Vica’s life and death is what I want to tell you what has happened to me as a father. How the loss, the indescribable loss I have suffered, has changed me as a man and an entrepreneur.
The main thing it has taught me is what the word tragedy really means … and trust me it has nothing to do with losing some money here and there. Just like making some money here and there isn’t really the definition of pleasure or joy.
Making money is nice, it’s good, we all need money and it’s still, no question about it, better to be rich than poor. But true pleasure, true joy is having your family and most of all your children, around you … safe and healthy and loving and supporting each other.
So if you’ve decided to let me go, that’s fine. Go with God. You’ll still be my friend for life. Ten years ago, even two years ago, my attitude would have been 180 degrees different. I would be angry. I would be yelling. I would be questioning your motives and integrity.
But today, who am I to question anybody’s motive. So what if the size and scope of the projects that I have proposed kind of scares you? So what, it is a massive undertaking … we’re doing things that have never been done before, at least not in the size and variety that we’re doing them. So it can be a little frightening.
I understand that now. Two years ago I would be screaming at you for having no balls. Since then I’ve had the most horrible reality check a man can have. I’ve lost a child. What do balls have to do with anything. I see the real world clearly now. I understand that the whole “brass balls” bullshit is exactly that … bullshit.
Being afraid, being scared. I understand it now. It took the lazy, worthless cops in San Diego five days to find Victoria’s body. Five days after her mother and I reported her missing. Five days of not knowing … of hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Balls? The hell with balls … once I thought I had the biggest balls in the world. That five days taught me better. That five days with whatever balls I once had shriveled and aching with fear taught me a whole lot better.
And there’s another thing I learned that’s pure bullshit … that whole macho thing about grown men not crying. I’m a grown man and I cried, I cried plenty, for hours, for days … I still cry at times and places when I least expect to. Anybody who loses a child and doesn’t cry, isn’t a man, he isn’t even a robot, he’s just a big, dumb, inhuman rock.
But now … but now … I know about fears and I know about tears. And I know what’s so devastating that you can’t stop yourself from crying and what isn’t.
So if you decide to let me go, I won’t be shedding any tears over it. I’ll be disappointed … very disappointed … that you won’t be here to reap the rewards of my work … to cash in on the company that I helped to reshape. I’ll be sorry … sorry for your sake … but I won’t cry over it. There are a lot more important things in life for you and me and everyone else on earth to cry about.
If letting me go when we’re in the middle of that mythical corner every developing company has to turn is what you really want to do, tell me now and I’ll get the “divorce” papers drawn up and we’ll part as friends… in my heart, you’ll always be my friend … one of the handful of visionaries who stood with me and Victoria and is part of the company with a current market capitalization of $34.95 billion dollars.
Maybe you never thought about it this way, but you’re founders of a startup that became a 35 billion dollar company in just a few short years. How many Boards of Directors do you know who can make that claim, how many?
Though I have already gathered much of the evidence necessary to make the case, now the most difficult part would be to convince SDPD to reopen the case.
The badly decomposed body of my 20-year-old daughter Victoria “Vica” Zubkis was found floating in the surf near Ocean Beach, a suburb of San Diego, California, the evening of May 28, 2015. Despite clear evidence, including the removal of internal organs that could not have been exposed to predators unless the victim’s stomach had been slashed with a knife or razor before she was thrown into the ocean, San Diego law enforcement officials treated the case as if it were an old Keystone Kops comedy film rather than a murder.
Instances of the many investigative malfeasances (and sheer buffoonery) revealed in the sworn testimony (https://www.vica.io/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Transcript-Testimony-of-San-Diego-Police-Officer-Deanna-Warrick-Chief-Investigator-of-Victoria-Zubkis-Death.pdf) of San Diego Police Officer include:
Totally ignoring a missing person’s report Victoria’s mother filed few days before Victoria’s death. In addition to refusing to follow up the missing person report themselves, SDPD officers declined to notify Ocean Beach officers of the missing person report despite the fact that OB, as it is locally called, was the last place Victoria was seen prior to her disappearance.
The department’s refusal to assign the case to its homicide division, which is trained to react quickly and decisively in gathering evidence and interrogating witnesses.
Assigning the investigation to the department’s Cold Case division, which typically deals with crimes which were committed a decade or more earlier with no crime scene or search and security of physical evidence required.
Cold Case officers failed to detain or track the activities of two key figures in the investigation. They also declined to alert security forces at airports and other points of departure, thus allowing these individuals to hop a jet and fly off to Miami the night before the officers showed up to interview them. Once their new location was known, the SDPD made no attempt whatsoever, not even a phone call to Miami police, to find and detain them.
Officers frequently interviewed suspects and “persons of interest” without even bothering to leave their patrol cars. In some cases, officers admitted that they “recruited” nearby residents outside apartment houses to go in and request a suspect or potential witness to come out and talk to them. When the suspect did come out, the interviews were conducted with the officers snug in their cars and the suspect standing outside answering questions through the window. When persons summoned to these in-car interrogations failed to appear, officers testified, they just drove off and ticked those individuals off the list of people to be questioned.
Even the most basic rules laid down in most Police Academy Chain of Evidence 101 courses were totally ignored in investigating Vica Zubkis death. Photographs of such physical evidence as cell phone text message screens simply disappeared or were never copied to the department’s data servers by the officers who took them. Asked to produce this evidence in court officers testified they “couldn’t find it.” In one case, a supervisor testified that he couldn’t even remember which of his subordinates took the photos despite the fact that he was present when the pictures were taken and was looking at the photographer taking them. In another instance, an officer testified that documents potentially critical to the investigation were deleted from an SDPD computer hard drive after a mere two weeks.
The SDPD’s refusal to follow up a report that bloody towels and a bathtub partially filled with blood had been seen in an apartment where Victoria was believed to be held in the days immediately preceding her death. According to later testimony by the superior of the two officers who received the information about the bloody bathtub, the team believed that an eye witness account by a resident of the apartment did not justify a request for a warrant to search the apartment.
The Department’s refusal to perform a forensic examination of a boat owned by Victoria’s reported boyfriend despite credible evidence that Victoria’s lifeless or nearly lifeless body might have been thrown into the ocean from that boat.
The Department’s blindly insisting that an official medical examiner’s finding that the cause of death was “undetermined” meant that Victoria had either drowned accidentally or committed suicide when “undetermined” in the case of a badly decomposed body with the organs missing could mean anything from murder to a person suffering a sudden heart attack while going for a swim.
The most cursory examination of what the SDPD did and didn’t do in investigating Victoria’s death reveals a trail littered with incompetence, laziness, deliberate destruction or concealment of evidence and an ego-driven, face-saving refusal to admit that their initial conclusion that no crime had been committed because the first officers on the scene could find no evidence of blunt instrument trauma was wrong.”
In the first place the medical examiner did find evidence of blunt trauma injury, a freshly broken leg that could have been fractured by a baseball bat or a piece of pipe, an injury that couldn’t be sustained by someone walking into the ocean to drown. In the second place, since when does a murder have to be committed by a blunt instrument. The evidence concerning the bloody towels and bathroom suggested that Vica was slashed with a knife, a type of wound that would probably be unidentifiable after a body had been eroded by the sea and repeatedly ravaged by sharks and other carnivores.
My only goal is to spend all my time as necessary to put so much indisputable evidence in front of the public that the San Diego Police are finally forced to do their job and bring Victoria’s murderer to justice. And if the Police still refuse to act, I and my former wife Alla, Victoria’s mother, will petition the Justice Department of the United States to file charges against the city of San Diego and its police force for violating Vica’s civil rights by refusing to make any attempt to save her life despite being alerted to her disappearance and probable kidnapping three to five days before she was actually killed.”
The last thing that Vica told her friend Alex, that she will be spending time on the boat with her boyfriend the next weekend … the next weekend … is the weekend that Vica has disappeared. (See Victoria’s last photo, and her last posting with message about her spending time with her boyfriend on his boat on her Instagram. https://www.vica.io/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Victoria-Last-Instagram-Post-Vica-on-boyfriend-boat.png)
There is no real way to put the next part into words. It is always one of the greatest tragedies in the world for a young person, particularly a gifted, totally alive, vivacious young person on the cusp of just starting a life that will bring goodness and art and compassion and intelligence to a world that so badly needs all those things … it is always a tragedy beyond words when such a person’s life is snuffed out at such a young age. It doesn’t matter whether the villain is cancer or some other disease, a car wreck, a fire, whatever.
But to be brutally slaughtered by someone you knew as a lover, a friend, by someone you cared for, someone you enjoyed spending time with. To be brutally slaughtered and to feel in your last instant of life that betrayal as well as the pain, to know that you are totally alone, alone and afraid and betrayed and suffering from the endless serious of wounds … let me tell you something, please, I, and Victoria, were not, are not, Christians. But crucifixion is not just the property of those who worship Jesus Christ as their savior. Crucifixion belongs to all of us in the darkness of our longest nights, in the depths of our worst nightmares.
Crucifixion. If there is any other word to describe what was done to Victoria, alone, afraid, betrayed and butchered, mutilated and dumped in the ocean in the dark of a San Diego night, I don’t know what that word is. And even if there is some other word, it doesn’t matter, None of it, none of it, matters. The little girl is no more. The young woman, who despite having to deal with her own demons as so many kids that age do, thrilled so many with her art, brought a little ray of light to so many with her compassion, sang so beautifully of life in three languages. That person, that girl, lives no more. And the only thing that matters are the memories and the tears.
Victoria’s father, Vladislav Zubkis aka. Steven Schwartzbard.