Slain East Rutherford Woman Died of Blunt Force Trauma
Link between East Rutherford murder-arson and Teaneck, Palisades Park killings not ruled out, according to county prosecutor.
Investigators have not ruled out a possible link between the murder of an elderly East Rutherford woman and two other Bergen County homicides, including the killing of a 74-year-old Teaneck political watchdog, County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Sunday.
Unlike the two unsolved murders in 2010, the East Rutherford victim, Barbara Vernieri, was not stabbed, Molinelli said. Vernieri died of blunt force trauma to the head and upper extremities, the county medical examiner concluded.
Vernieri, 70, was found dead Friday after East Rutherford authorities responded to a fire in her Sheppard Terrace home. Molinelli said she apparently suffered the fatal blows before the fire was set, and it was not clear if she was struck with an object.
In 2010, Teaneck activist Joan Davis and 69-year-old Palisades Park resident Dolores Alliotts were found dead after suffering stab wounds. In both cases, their homes were set on fire. Davis, officials have confirmed, was also beaten and bound.
“While the utilization of fire is common to all three, there appears nothing remarkable to this incident which would leave law enforcement to assume that one or both of the prior incidents were committed by Ms. Vernieri’s assailant. For the same reason, we have not ruled out the possibility of such a connection,” the prosecutor said in a statement.
Last year, Molinelli said he could not confirm if the Davis and Alliotts cases were related.
An analysis on a host of forensic evidence found at the East Rutherford scene would take some time, according to the prosecutor.
“This investigation is ongoing and at this time law enforcement will pursue all avenues to detect and apprehend the person that committed the murder,” he said.