UNION COUNTY — The Union County Prosecutor’s Office is once again appealing to the public for information about a homicide in Clark in 2012, and this time the reward has been dramatically raised.
With the help of a $100,000 reward offered anonymously through the Union County Crime Stoppers, acting prosecutor Grace Park is seeking the public’s help in solving the grisly murder of a 73-year-old Clark woman named Vera Pecoraro.
It has been just over two years since police were called to the home near Grouse Lane and Rolling Hill Way at 6:45 p.m. on July 7, 2012. When police arrived, they discovered the body of Pecoraro inside.
According to the prosecutor’s office at the time of the incident, Pecoraro was found with her throat cut and multiple knife wounds. In addition, reports in 2012 say that police found a serrated knife nearby and some forensic evidence, but little else. There was no forced entry to the home, nothing appeared to be missing and the body did not exhibit defensive wounds.
One of Pecoraro’s sons made the discovery that evening, according to the acting prosecutor, after multiple family members tried numerous times to reach her by phone earlier in the day. It initially appeared, the prosecutor said, that Pecoraro may have committed suicide, but an autopsy 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, on July 6, 2012, a single day short of her 74th birthday.
“Maybe it was a car or a van that was unfamiliar to the neighborhood, or an unusual sound or activity,” the acting prosecutor said in 2013, adding that even the smallest detail residents can recall could help bring about an arrest and answer many questions for authorities.
Now, investigators are asking residents to once again think back to that day, which fell just after the July 4 holiday, and try to remember any specific details that they can recall. It is the same plea to the public that the acting prosecutor made on the one year anniversary of the crime.
“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 that might have witnessed,” the acting prosecutor’s office said in a release. “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.”
At the time of the incident in 2012, investigators believed there was no danger to the public. This still holds true, as investigators say they still believe Pecoraro was specifically targeted. In addition, they say she was “an avid golfer who enjoyed traveling with loved ones and spending time with her grandchildren” and they she “did not have any known enemies.”
“She was still working two or three days a week at a local family-owned business around the time she died,” the acting prosecutor said in a release.
On the one year anniversary, the reward for information leading to the arrest, indictment and conviction in the case was set at $5,000. Now, an anonymous donor has upped that reward with an additional $100,000, and that reward will stay in place for no less than five years. 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.