Arrest made in nearly decade-old cold case murder of Carol Reiff
GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) -- A Mount Laurel man has been arrested in a nearly decade-old cold case. It's the news a Gloucester Township family has been waiting for -- a breakthrough in the murder of their beloved mother and friend, Carol Reiff.
First-degree murder charges were filed Wednesday against 59-year-old Joseph Grisoff, according to officials.
On June 21, 2013, Gloucester Township Police Department officers responded to the Lakeview Apartment Complex to check on Reiff after she never showed up to a planned trip with family members and wasn't answering her phone.
When officers got into her apartment, Reiff was not there, however, her keys were still in her apartment and her car was in the parking lot, according to police.
She was subsequently officially reported as missing.
Then, four days later, detectives found the 59-year-old woman's remains in a wooded area behind an old maintenance building for the complex, located off Lower Landing Road — not far from Route 42.
Her death was ruled a homicide, however, an autopsy was unable to determine a manner and cause of death due to decomposition.
Her unsolved murder has left Reiff's loved ones waiting for closure.
During the initial investigation, potential DNA evidence was recovered from a pair of the victim's jeans, as well as an empty beer bottle in her apartment. Unfortunately, at the time, DNA testing did not produce conclusive results.
Over the years, detectives have said advances in DNA analysis have helped open new doors in the investigation, specifically equipment that can collect evidence, leaving the hope that her killer would soon be found.
"It's always been my hope that when they close this, it's going to protect other people from having to suffer through this as a family, and for the loss of life," Detective Jeremy Jankowski, of the Camden County Prosecutors Office, said.
Then earlier this month, Camden County homicide detectives told CBS Philadelphia they had some very good leads. Despite the promising leads, investigators continued to ask the public for any new information, no matter how minor the details.
Now, just eight days after a recent CBS Mysteries report profiling Reiff's case, an arrest has been made.
Following the arrest, detectives revealed Grisoff, who was a maintenance worker who lived near the victim's apartment, was interviewed at the time Reiff's body was discovered. Officials said Grisoff told police during that interview that he would regularly see Reiff outside and admitted to complimenting her in the past. He also claimed that he had never been inside her apartment.
Despite that claim, recent DNA testing revealed the "strong proposition that the victim and Grisoff were both contributors to DNA profiles obtained from the jeans and the beer bottle" that were found in Reiff's apartment, according to officials.
"The Gloucester Township Police Department and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office have never forgotten about Carol Reiff," said Gloucester Township Police Chief David Harkins. "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."
Grisoff was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service Camden Division Wednesday morning in Moorestown and is being held at the Camden County Correctional Facility as he awaits a detention hearing.
Anyone with information pertaining to this case is asked to contact Detective Jeremy Jankowski of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office Homicide Unit at 856-397-3485 and Detective Michael Leach of the Gloucester Township Police Department at 856-228-4500. Tips can also be sent to CAMDEN.TIPS.
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