Nearly 10 years after authorities found a missing woman mysteriously dead and could not figure out the cause or manner of her passing, prosecutors have now charged a maintenance worker with murder, saying he likely left DNA on a beer bottle and pair of the victim’s jeans.
Carol Reiff, 59, planned on visiting her family on June 21, 2013, in Manahawkin, New Jersey, but she never arrived and did not pick up her cell phone, Gloucester Township police said. Officers responded that same day to where she lived at the Lakeview Apartments.
Police got access to her apartment and while she was nowhere to be found, her keys were inside and her car remained in the parking lot. This sparked a missing person case, which tragically ended three days later on June 24, 2013. Cops found her body in a wooded area behind an old maintenance building for the complex.
They could not formally determine how she died, however.
“An autopsy was conducted and the cause and manner of death was left undetermined due to decomposition,” stated a joint statement from Gloucester Township police and the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.
Detectives interviewed Joseph Grisoff, a maintenance worker who lived near her apartment, officers said. At the time, he allegedly said he saw Reiff outside often and admitted complimenting her, but he asserted he was never in her home.
Investigators got potential DNA evidence from a pair of her jeans and an empty beer bottle in her apartment, but testing at the time did not get results.
Now cops say that technological advances paved the way for detectives to reanalyze the evidence, and they claim there’s a “strong proposition” that both Reiff and Grisoff contributed to the DNA profiles on the jeans and beer bottle.
Authorities said U.S. Marshals arrested Grisoff, now 59, on Wednesday for first-degree murder.
“For the last decade, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and Gloucester Township Police Department have remained focused on getting justice for the Reiff family,” said Camden County Prosecutor Grace C. MacAulay. “I’m thankful to the detectives and assistant prosecutors who remained dedicated to this case and to holding the person responsible who unjustly took Ms. Reiff from her loved ones.”
“The Gloucester Township Police Department and the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office have never forgotten about Carol Reiff,” Gloucester Township Police Chief David Harkins said. “Since her disappearance on June 21, 2013 and the discovery of her body on June 24, 2013, we have worked to get justice for Ms. Reiff and her family. We will use all means necessary to achieve justice and prosecute those responsible. It is our duty to be the voice for victims and their families, and we take this responsibility very seriously. I am very proud of the collaboration and teamwork of the detectives who have worked countless hours which led to this arrest today.”
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]