VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Michael Aaron (Norah) Horwitz is facing charges including second-degree murder after being accused of stabbing to death her father, prominent Virginia Beach dentist Dr. Abbey Horwitz, Saturday in the family home.
Dr. Abbey Horwitz’s former dental office remained closed Monday, and staffers inside did not want to talk. Flowers were left outside the office where he served patients for years.
Officials received the 911 call about the stabbing just before 9 a.m. Saturday. During the call Norah Horwitz said the stabbing occurred 20 minutes earlier.
Officers found Dr. Abbey Horwitz, 68, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Horwitz was pronounced dead by EMS at 9:13 a.m.
Norah Horwitz, besides facing a murder charge, also faces a charge of stabbing in the commission of a felony. She is being held at the Virginia Beach Jail.
The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office confirmed Norah Horwitz, 34, is on suicide watch on the male side of the jail. The sheriff’s office told WAVY they are required by law to house inmates based on their biological sex.
The Virginia Beach Police Department said Norah Horwitz is in the process of transitioning to become female.
“The security of the facility and the safety and welfare of the inmate are our primary considerations when determining where they [inmates] should be housed. We use an objective screening instrument to determine housing, which evaluates numerous criteria, including the person’s physical build, whether they have been a victim of sexual abuse, their own perception of their vulnerability, and whether they are or appear to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex or gender nonconforming. Inmate Horwitz is in male suicide watch direct observation with other inmates.”Statement from Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office
During the arraignment, held via video Monday morning, Norah Horwitz asked the judge whether she could speak with her mother about hiring an attorney. Her mother wasn’t there, so the court appointed her an attorney for now.
She is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 31.
A neighbor of the Horwitz family who declined to be on camera said the emergency response to the home Saturday was immediate and large, with “…multiple police cars, fire, ambulances, forensics. Within a 10-minute period I saw 15 or 20 emergency vehicles,” he said.
The elder Horwitz, besides being a dentist, was a prominent figure in the Jewish community as president of the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
A sign on the door of his practice in Great Neck Square reads “it is with a heavy heart we will be closed to mourn the passing of our beloved Abbey.”
Neighbors told 10 On Your Side they didn’t know the family, but they are shocked this happened so close to home.
“Typically, you hear something like that and it’s an elderly somebody that’s passed away or sick, but we don’t hear about homicides going around here much,” one neighbor said.
One man said that in all his years living there, he could’ve never imagined a tragedy like this, saying he’s “…been in this neighborhood since 1990. It’s just not something you hear about much around here.
“I told my wife, and she couldn’t believe it. (It’s) all she talked about all weekend, saying, ‘I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it.’ She’s been at the house. She knows the family. … We all know the family.”
Jeff Tuell has been a friend and patient of Abbey Horwitz 35 years.
“I can’t imagine he got into a confrontation of some type. I don’t know what happened. He is not that type of person at all,” said Jeff Tuell, a friend and patient of Dr. Abbey Horwitz for 35 years.
Tuell remembered Horwitz, who gave him a boat to use anytime he wanted.
“He would actually call and say, ‘Hey, are you guys going to use the boat next Saturday? I’d like to use it for a couple of hours,'” Tuell said. “I said ‘Abbey, it’s your boat.’ He’d say, ‘I know, but if you got something planned I don’t want to interrupt it.’ We’d drop it off, and when he finished, he said ‘Come get it.’ That’s the kind of person he was.”
Tuell never met Michael – now Norah – in all the times he visited.
The house where Dr. Abbey Horwitz was attacked by his child is the same house he moved his own parents into to live. His mother died some time ago, but his father just recently.
“He took care of his parents for a long time,” Tuell said. “He made additions to the house for them to live in, so they were very comfortable until the very end.”
It’s all left Tuell at a loss for words.
“You hear it all the time, somebody getting shot at a shopping center,” Tuell said. “When it’s someone you brought up? I just don’t have words for that.”
Tuell describes Horwitz as beyond generous.
“He opened up the business on a Sunday for my father-in-law just before he passed away,” Tuell said, “and took care of an issue he was having, and he was not even a patient of Abbey’s. I will never forget that.”
And remember Tuell went to Dr. Horwitz for 35 years.
“Once you went to him you are going to go back,” Tuell said. “He had that chair-side manner. He was friendly, but he did not forget about you. He would ask about you, your kids, your family.”