Family, friends and elected officials gathered in Nassau County’s Grant Park in Hewlett on July 10 to unveil the memorial plaque and a bricks in memory of Kelly Tinyes, a 13-year-old Woodmere Middle School student who was murdered by Robert Golub in 1989.
Childhood friends of Tinyes began the Forever Young Kelly Brick Campaign last year as a positive way to remember their friend. Nearly $49,000 was raised. The memorial has an area of concrete near the entrance with engraved bricks, benches and recreational tables.
A Valley Stream resident who attended school in the Hewlett-Woodmere district, the park was known to be Tinyes favorite. A majority of the Friday nights were spent at Grant Park hanging out and ice skating.
“It was a beautiful day celebrating a beautiful soul that was taken from us way too soon,” Mindy Nirenberg said. “Her memory will never be for gotten and we are so happy to help to make sure of that by creating this permanent memorial.”
The Forever Young Kelly Brick Campaign teamed up with Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Endowment Fund to raise the needed money.
The endowment fund, an independent organization of alumni, families and friends who support public-school activities and programs in the Hewlett-Woodmere district, which then applied the money to the project and worked with the Nassau County Parks Department on how the construction was done.
Endowment fund board member David Friedman said that the memorial had been the subject of discussion for almost a year, and noted that the fund’s past working relationship with the Parks Department helped move the process.
“It looks beautiful, Jen and Mindy worked so hard,” he said, adding that the Parks Department was terrific and he was glad that County Executive Laura Curran and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder attended the Saturday event. Jen, who declined to use her last name, is another childhood friend of Tinyes.
On March 3, 1989, Tinyes, was babysitting her younger brother, Richard, at their Valley Stream home when they got a phone call from a man who said his name was John. Kelly told Richard that she was heading to a friend’s for a little while. She never returned. Roughly 24 hours later, she was found dead in a neighbor’s basement.
Within a month, police arrested 21-year-old bodybuilder Robert Golub, who lived in the house, after a bloody handprint was discovered on the basement doorway. After a nearly yearlong trial, Golub was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He remains incarcerated, even after multiple parole hearings.
Golub later admitted to the killing, saying it was accidental. Dubbed the “Hell on Horton Road” murder, the case attracted national attention for its brutality, and was significant in that it was one of the first cases in the United States to rely on DNA evidence to secure a conviction.
Remembering those who are killed is important, County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. He noted that the Golubs of the world receive the attention as they remain alive in prison and become a news story when up for parole
“We always have to remember our victims and give them a voice,” he said, adding that when a homicide in Nassau occurs, the detectives investigating the case “marry the family,” speak with the families on the anniversary of the loved one’s death and check on them.
“What [the friends and family] did, they did the right thing with this memorial,” Ryder said, noting that the Tinyes was struggling as Richie Tinyes, Kelly’s father, died last September from Covid-19. “It gives everybody a little bit of healing. You never get closure, but you get healing.”