Prosecutor hopes to heat up cold case

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CLARK — As the two-year anniversary of the homicide of 73-year-old Vera Pecoraro approaches, investigators are continuing to urge members of the public to come forward with information, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Wednesday.

A reward of up to $100,000 was recently offered through Union County Crime Stoppers for information leading to an arrest, indictment, and conviction in the case. According to Crime Stoppers, the reward offer will remain in place for no fewer than five years.

It was approximately 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2012 when police were called to a home near the juncture of Grouse Lane and Rolling Hill Way in Clark on reports of a deceased female. When officers arrived, they found the body of Pecoraro inside.

One of Pecoraro’s sons made the discovery that evening, after multiple family members tried numerous times to reach her by phone earlier in the day. It initially appeared that Pecoraro may have committed suicide, but an autopsy performed by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office determined definitively that she was the victim of a homicide and died of stab wounds.

The autopsy also determined that Pecoraro likely died the day before she was found, July 6, 2012 – a single day short of her 74th birthday.

Investigators believe that Pecoraro was specifically targeted. There were no signs of forced entry at the home, nothing was believed to have been taken from the home, and Pecoraro’s body exhibited no evidence of defensive wounds.

Forensic evidence was recovered at the scene and detectives have conducted dozens of interviews since the investigation was launched. No arrests have been made nor any charges filed to date in connection with the case.

To assist in the investigation, detectives once again are appealing to residents in the area to think back to that day and to try and remember anything out of the ordinary they might have witnessed. The homicide occurred just after the Fourth of July holiday, around the same time Pecoraro was preparing to move, and there were clear skies with high temperatures in the high 90s. Pecoraro’s home is adjacent to Esposito Park to the east and lies close to the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway to the west.

Pecoraro, an avid golfer who enjoyed traveling with loved ones and spending time with her grandchildren, did not have any known enemies, investigators working the case noted. She was still working two to three days a week at a local family-owned business around the time she died.

In addition to administering the aforementioned donated reward, the Union County Crime Stoppers is offering its own reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for the homicide of Vera Pecoraro. Tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477), via text message by texting “UCTIP” and a message to 274637 (CRIMES), or online at www.uctip.org.


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