After reopening a cold case in light of technological advances, authorities say they have identified the individual responsible for the death of a woman in Barnegat over 30 years ago.

According to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, John Pelletier, formerly of Barnegat, murdered 30-year-old Debbie Ann Bloomquist. Pelletier died in North Dakota in 2015, the prosecutor's office said.

Bloomquist's body was found on Oct. 26, 1991, in a heavily wooded area of the township, and an autopsy revealed that she had been the victim of sexual assault and multiple stab wounds. She had been living in a motel in Monmouth County and was last seen at a tavern in Asbury Park on Oct. 24.

At the time, biological evidence was collected and preserved. Over a decade later, the evidence led to the development of a male DNA profile. In January 2022, at the direction of Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, the case was presented to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General - Cold Case Task Force, and the investigation was reopened.

Thanks to technological advances, the prosecutor's office said, detectives were able to identify the male DNA profile from the 1991 scene as belonging to Pelletier, and reach the conclusion that he was responsible for Bloomquist's death.

"Though Pelletier never faced justice for his actions in this life, we nevertheless hope this conclusive determination brings some level of peace and closure to the family of Debbie Ann Bloomquist," Billhimer said.

According to an obituary for Pelletier, he passed away on Nov. 22, 2015, "after battling many health issues," at age 50. He lived in Barnegat in 2005, before moving to West Virginia, and then to North Dakota, the obituary says. He got married in 2013.

Bloomquist's body was discovered on Pelletier's 26th birthday.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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