Police search for clues in mysterious death of South Jersey woman

Posted: March 26, 2014

POLICE WERE hoping the harsh winter killed off some vegetation in the woods, unveiling a new clue, some previously hidden piece of evidence in a mysterious case that's troubled residents of a South Jersey apartment complex since June.

But the small crowd that gathered by the deli at the Lakeview Apartments in Gloucester Township, Camden County, watching the officers and waiting for a bus, figured that the mystery had been solved, that police found the person responsible for Carol Reiff's death.

"So, what happened, they arrested the guy?" asked resident Alia, who asked that her last name not be published.

Minutes later, Camden County prosecutor Warren Faulk and Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle spoke with reporters close to where Reiff's body was found, decomposed and hidden in shrubbery, on June 24. The mystery remains, both men said, but police are still hoping a $20,000 reward can shake something loose.

"There is someone out there who had to have seen something," Faulk said.

Reiff, an avid runner, was a familiar face for residents, pounding out miles in the streets in the apartment complex and surrounding roads in Gloucester Township almost every day. Faulk said investigators believed that she had been out running on June 20, the last time anyone spoke with her, and that she returned home before she went missing.

The case has not been ruled a homicide, Faulk said, but investigators are treating it as one because her body appeared to be hidden in the shrubbery in the woods there.

Residents who gathered at the deli all seemed to believe there was a prime suspect in the case, a "creepy" man they were all familiar with but haven't seen in months.

"He was weird," said resident Denise Killian.

When asked about the rumors circulating in the 52-acre complex, Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, said "there are multiple avenues this investigation is pursuing, but I cannot go into the details of those."

"At this time there is no one individual who is a suspect in this case," he said.

Residents said the past nine months have been stressful there knowing Reiff's death remained unsolved. The stress has been with resident Kristina Cross for much longer.

Cross, 34, was carjacked at gunpoint there in May 2011 by a teenager who later stabbed his foster father to death.

"I just bought a house," Cross said, waiting at the bus stop with her daughter. "I'm glad to be out of here."

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Camden County Prosecutor's Office Detective Chuck Farrell at 856-225-8500 or Gloucester Township Police Detective Bill Westphal at 856-228-4500. Anonymous tips are accepted by the Citizens Crime Commission: 215-546-TIPS or the Gloucester Township Police Anonymous Crime Tip Line: 856-842-5560.

On Twitter: @JasonNark

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