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December  13

Reassurance and Bizarre Theories

Glen Ridge Police Chief John Magnier is calling last week's murder of 58-year-old Joan Galligan "an isolated case," and continues to reassure the public, the Star Ledger reports today.

"With the information that we've gathered up to this point," he said, "there's nothing that would lead us to believe that there is any jeopardy to the general public."

But in the absence of any real information -- or any suggested motive in the killing of a well-liked grandmother and law office manager -- the imagination works overtime. How about this theory, which we've heard at least three times? A once-a-decade serial killer who targets women in their late 50's. As everyone knows, the Galligan case was almost exactly ten years after Glen Ridge's last murder, of 58-year-old Ethyl Durea, out walking her dog, about a block away from the current killing. But on NJ.com's Glen Ridge forum, a poster remembers yet another incident from about 20 years ago.

Not to be sensationalistic, but: My aunt who lives in the vicinity was saying that not only was there a murder within blocks of this latest case 10 years ago (as is mentioned in the Ledger story), but there was yet another woman murdered in the area 20 years prior, around the same time (according to my aunt, this earliest murder victim had "her head bashed in.") Now, perhaps my aunt is pulling my leg, but I checked some newspaper archives and couldn't find anything. Can any longtime residents confirm or discredit this claim?

How about revenge for the actions of a relative in law enforcement, an oft-discussed motive in the unsolved Ethel Duryea case? Last Friday's story in the New York Post reports that Joan Galligan had several relatives in the legal system.

He [Galligan's brother] said his sister's ex-husband is a judge, her daughter is an administrator for the Essex County courts and Galligan's father was veteran NYPD Detective Vincent Cullinan, who spent 38 years on the force and retired out of the 25th Precinct in 1968.

Isolated or not, the Glen Ridge Police Department will hold a public meeting tonight on home safety. 7:30 pm at the Glen Ridge Congregational Church.

December 13, 2005 in Sirens | Permalink


Can we have a happy talk thread to opine about holiday stuff?

Posted by: The Iceman | Dec 13, 2005 9:02:29 AM

Happy, silly and holiday are coming, Iceman. Be patient.

Posted by: The Barista | Dec 13, 2005 9:07:39 AM

I am humbled to receive such prompt response.

Posted by: The Iceman | Dec 13, 2005 9:13:04 AM

my theory-knowing nothing about this case is that either it is someone who knows the woman ( serial killers usually use the same MO)since the percentages show you usually come to harm at he hands of someone you know.

However to be scandelous -how about the shooter from the original murder hide the gun used in first killing and returned (fearful about the publicity that the original gun wasn't found) to retrieve gun and was surprised by the homeowner while searching for it.

Again I know nothing about this case AT ALL but if you want to add more mystery.

Any way to go through phone records sometimes takes time as well as establishing actual case of death and to review and test certain evidence takes time. Better to be certain then to release info and lose a conviction.

Posted by: cstarling | Dec 13, 2005 9:24:20 AM

I don't think a serial killer would have the self control to wait 10 years between victims. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Dec 13, 2005 9:26:30 AM

I am off to purchase a dictionary and punctuation book, then off to enroll in a typing class. Have a good day all.

Posted by: cstarling | Dec 13, 2005 10:01:26 AM

So does this mean we are all safe and can relax for another 10 years?

Posted by: todd | Dec 13, 2005 10:11:47 AM

Nothing is certain.But statistically you are probably safe.

Posted by: cstarling | Dec 13, 2005 10:19:12 AM

c'mon guys, this woman had a family. Not to be a curmudgeon, but...

Let's not speculate on stuff we know nothing about out of respect for what they must be going thorugh.

Posted by: daniella | Dec 13, 2005 10:59:34 AM

As far as the decedent's family is concerned, I am certain they know that our concern and prayers are with them.

But murder is indeed a crime against society. Those who live in proximity feel afraid and vulnerable which is more than understandable.

Although statements may be this is an isolated incident, until the public knows more they will certainly continue to be afraid until an arrest is made.

And certainly speculation is just speculation, and mine certainly does not indicate disrespect for the victim not for the family.

Posted by: cstarling | Dec 13, 2005 3:34:08 PM

Your 20 year old murder inquiry is the murder of Eva Khalil of Ridgewood Ave. in Glen Ridge who had her head bashed in by a guy working at her home. There was much suspicion placed on Khalil's husband who could NOT be implicated. This happened a LONG time ago in the 70's, a bit more than 20 years. I believe 77 or 78. Hope its the answer you sought. G

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