On December 12, 1990, Norine spent her day with her children as well as her sister. The group had spent the day shopping for Christmas gifts and taking pictures with Santa. Later that evening, Norine drove her sister, Susan, home to Franklin Square, NY before she returned to her home in New Hyde Park. Shortly before 11:00pm, Norine told her husband, John, that she was going to make a quick trip to a grocery store to buy some ingredients to make Christmas cookies for her family, choosing to go at this time to avoid the lines of people. Norine left her home in her car, only taking her pocketbook with $45 in it, but leaving her wallet and ID at her home. Although an employee of the grocery store noted that they had seen Norine's car in the parking lot shortly after 11:00pm, Norine did not return home that night.
John, Norine's husband, told police he had fallen asleep on the couch after Norine left for the store, and slept until around 5:00AM the next morning. When he noticed that his wife had not returned home from the store, he called Norine's friend at around 8:00am, who he asked to be on the lookout for her car, a station wagon. A friend reported later to John that they had found her car in the parking lot of the grocery store, leading John to calling the police and reporting Norine missing. Norine's car was locked, and the back of the car was full of wrapped Christmas presents.