Police investigate suspected serial killer in connection with 57-year-old homicide
Authorities in Middlesex County have decided to re-open a 57-year-old murder case involving a 17-year-old New Jersey girl whose body was found in the Raritan River in Woodbridge.
The announcement by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey comes just one day after suspected serial killer Robert Zarinsky was linked to the 1965 murder of Mary Agnes Klinsky. Zarinsky was also the prime suspect in Linda Balabanow's death, but because of insufficient evidence at the time of the investigation, charges were never brought against Zarinsky.
With the announcement Wednesday that Zarinsky was tied through DNA evidence to Klinsky's death, authorities in Middlesex County are attempting to take a fresh look at the Balabanow case.
"We have the case and are evaluating the evidence," Carey said in a statement to NJ 101.5 Thursday.
Balabanow disappeared in March of 1969 while walking home from a store in Roselle, in nearby Union County. According to NJ Advance Media, after the teen's body body was found floating in the Raritan RIver, medical examiners determined that her jaw was broken and her skull was cracked. An autopsy showed that she was killed by a blow to the head.
Zarinksy had previously been convicted in the murder of 17-year-old Rosemary Calandriello of Athlantic Highlands, who disappeared the same year as Balabanow. He was found guilty and began a life sentence in prison in 1975, but died in 2008 at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton.
While investigating Calandriello's death, police found a hammer in Zarinsky's car that contained skin and hair similar to Balabanow's, NJ Advance Media reported. But the evidence at the time was not sufficient enough to warrant charges against the convicted killer.
Carey did not offer any additional comment on re-examining the case, but told NJ Advance Media that his office has been in touch with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and they're always "hopeful whenever we find another piece of the puzzle."
Authorities in Monmouth County were able to link Zarinsky to Klinsky's death thanks to modern advancements in DNA testing, that allowed them to re-examine the evidence collected in 1965 and come up with a DNA profile for the suspect, which matched Zarinsky.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.