Park police look into ‘suspicious’ death of local woman

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 20, 2013

While the investigation into the killing of 35-year-old Grosse Pointe Park woman Sabrina Gianino was ongoing at press time, members of the community are showing their care and concern by rallying around the beloved animal hospital employee.

Gianino was the head receptionist at Platz Animal Hospital in Grosse Pointe Park, where she had worked since 2006, according to her Facebook page. Friends and colleagues were slated to hold a fundraiser for her funeral expenses from 5-7 p.m. May 21 at Marge’s Bar on Mack in the Park. Those unable to attend that event can also send checks to the animal hospital, according to an employee there, Ashley, who did not want to give her full name. Gianino was an only child, and her father died not long ago, so her mother, Veronica, is “having a hard time,” Ashley said.

Those who would like to contribute should make checks out to Veronica Gianino and send them, attention Kelsey, to: Platz Animal Hospital, 15310 Mack, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230.

Ashley said Sabrina Gianino was “passionate about her job” and her death has dealt a sharp blow to those who knew her.

“It’s just been hard around here,” Ashley said of the small animal hospital where Gianino worked.

On the Platz Animal Hospital Facebook page, a hospital official posted that they are “devastated about the loss of Sabrina.” That’s a sentiment echoed by many others, who say they are distraught about the tragic news.

Messages from clients who knew Gianino have been flooding into the Platz Animal Hospital Facebook page. One person described Gianino as “such a beautiful, bright, vibrant young woman … (who) always took such good care of our pets.” Another wrote that she was “just so friendly and easy to talk to,” adding, “It is so sad and such a terrible shock.” Another woman who was a client wrote, “Sabrina always treated everyone and their pets like family and didn’t deserve this.” Still another woman said Gianino was “such a vibrant and kind young woman (who) was always so sweet and caring towards my cats.”

“It’s mind-blowing, the outpouring of support (from the community),” Ashley said.

Gianino’s death was initially labeled “suspicious” by Grosse Pointe Park police. Sarah Bazzi, a spokesperson for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, said an autopsy conducted May 17 concluded that Gianino died of ligature strangulation.

“It was ruled a homicide,” Bazzi said.

What specifically might have caused the strangulation wasn’t being released at press time because the case is still under investigation.

Police said that they responded to a 911 call at 12:11 a.m. May 16 and found the victim dead in her home in the 1300 block of Wayburn. Public Safety Chief David Hiller said the 911 call came from within the victim’s house, but he declined to say who placed the call. He also would not say whether the victim lived there alone or if there were others in the household. Some media outlets have reported that Gianino’s boyfriend also lived in that flat.

Hiller said the investigation is ongoing. He said they were receiving assistance from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the Michigan State Police’s Sterling Heights crime lab and the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“We are treating it as a suspicious death,” Hiller said. “We don’t have a lot of information.”

Anyone with more information about this incident can call the Park Public Safety Department at (313) 822-7400.