A wrongful death lawsuit filed in Manhattan this week accuses former stock trader Rod Covlin in the mysterious drowning death of his then-estranged wife Shele Danishefsky Covlin, a UBS wealth manager who was found face-down in the bathtub two years ago at a time the couple was engaged in a vicious divorce and custody battle.
Early Wednesday morning, process servers arrived at the two-story home that Covlin currently shares with his parents and children. The 39-year-old refused to comment, keeping in line with his refusal to speak about the death, the New York Daily News reported.
While Rod Covlin never faced criminal charges in the 2009 New Year's Eve death of Shele Danishefsky Covlin, 47, the statute of limitations for filing a civil suit was set to expire at the end of this week. Without the suit, Covlin would have inherited a share of Danishefsky's $1.5 million estate in accordance with her will, which was drafted in 2004 before the couple separated, according to ABC News.
According to the New York Post, Danishefsky had switched her Aetna life insurance policy over the the couple's two children Anna and Myles Colvin just one month before her death because her marriage was falling apart.
Anna and Myles are scheduled to take full control of the money when they turn 18 years old. But in the meantime, a court in Westchester County has given Rod Covlin the authority to invest the $1.6 million and apply to withdraw cash on his children's behalf.
The New York Post also reported that Covlin concealed key information from the Westchester court when initially filing for control of the life insurance policy:
[Colvin's] petition doesn't say that there's an ongoing case [over Danishefsky's estate] or that the kids have a guardian. He also left blank the answer to a question about whether the kids' custody had ever been the subject of a court order — and an order of protection had been filed against him before and after his wife’s murder, allowing him only supervised visits with the pair.
Meanwhile, police have said they are still investigating the cause of Danishefsky's mysterious death.
Anna Colvin, then 9 years old, found her mother face-down in the bathtub. Authorities originally said that Danishefsky accidentally slipped and fell. No extensive autopsy was performed because, according to Jewish custom, her body was buried the next day.
Nevertheless, as more details surrounding the couple's bitter divorce emerged, family members began to doubt the accuracy of the original police report and ordered Danishefsky's body exhumed for further examination in July, 2010. Medical examiners then ruled the cause of death to be strangulation.
While heads immediately turned to Rod Covlin, he was never charged with the murder.
According to sources, the Manhattan district attorney's office could file murder charges against Rod Covlin as early as this spring, the Daily News reported.