Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Fears of Possible Serial Killer in Bergen County

Back in 2010, I wrote an article asking, “Is There a Serial Killer in Bergen County” after two women—Joan Davis [72] (Teaneck) and Dolores Alliotts [69] (Palisades Park)—were killed in similar fashion; both were stabbed repeatedly and set on fire in their Bergen County homes.

The talk of a possible linkage between these crimes had since subsided; that was until 7 March 2011, when 59-year-old software engineer, Robert Cantor, was found dead in his Elm Avenue home in Teaneck, NJ. An autopsy performed by the county medical examiner revealed that he “was killed by suffering a gunshot wound prior to the fire being set,” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said in a release the next day.

Firefighters discovered Cantor’s body in the basement of his two-story home, after battling the three-alarm fire just after midnight.

Molinelli has previously said that the Davis and Alliotts murders are unconnected and both investigations are ongoing.

On 21 March 2011, Prosecutor Molinelli made a public statement asserting that the murders of two Teaneck residents over the last several months are not linked and there is no ongoing threat to the community. His comments came just before a closed-door meeting with the town’s community relations advisory board. In the meeting, Prosecutor Molinelli briefed the community board on the Davis investigation at the request of state Sen. Loretta Weinberg. The meeting was not public and reporters were not allowed to attend.

Additionally, Prosecutor Molinelli said, “If authorities believed there was any ongoing threat to Teaneck residents—including a possible serial killer—[they] would have alerted the public immediately.” He declined to release additional details of the crimes, citing the ongoing investigation.

Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin, the town council’s liaison to the board, said “the Davis case has not gone cold,” and Molinelli characterized the Davis case as an “aggressive investigation” and said investigators were confident the Cantor murder would be solved.

In regard the stab wounds as opposed to the gun shot wounds there are a couple of things. First, we must remember that the two that were stabbed were elderly women, which makes them easier for the assailant to overpower. Mr. Cantor was a male, and was shot before the fire was set. It’s possible to theorize that the assailant may have used a gun because the assailant was unsure if he/she could overpower Mr. Cantor. Secondly, serial killers do not always kill their victims the same exact way. For instance, The Grim Sleeper usually shot his victims, but two were strangled with no gun involved. The Boston Strangler is another example; no one single factor regarding the type of victim could be deemed essential in his selection process; although he seemed to prefer hands on means of killing, he could also use a knife.

So, are we looking at copy-cat killings; killings that are completely unrelated and mere coincidence; are new killers learning from other killers and setting fires to hide evidence; or is this the work of one person? These questions have yet to be answered, and the more bodies that keep showing up in this manner, the more people are going to fear the worst.

Prosecutor Molinelli is asking for anyone with information about why Cantor was killed and by whom to contact Teaneck police (201-837-2600) or the Major Crimes Unit of his office (201-226-5500).

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