31-year old Cold Case thaws of horrifying sexual assault, murder of woman in Barnegat, NJ
There have been years of dedicated and outstanding police work that have led to the thawing of a 31-year-old cold case homicide that occurred in October of 1991 in Barnegat Township.
The news of the sexual assault and murder case breaking was announced by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
The body of 30-year-old Deborah "Debbie" Ann Bloomquist of Ocean Township (Monmouth County) in a heavily wooded area of Barnegat on October 26, 1991, and the autopsy followed by the Ocean County Medical Examiner's Office found that she died from multiple stab wounds and was also the victim of a sexual assault, according to the OCPO, with her death being ruled a homicide.
An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Barnegat Township Police, and the Ocean County Sheriff's Office led to the gathering of biological evidence that was collected and preserved, but, "the technology did not exist at that time, however, to submit this evidence for DNA testing."
As investigators continued to comb for clues as to what happened, they learned that Bloomquist was living in a motel in Monmouth County at the time and had last been seen two days before she was found dead at a tavern in Asbury Park.
Things started going cold in the case.
"Ms. Bloomquist had no known ties to the Barnegat area. Unfortunately, no leads were established and the case went cold."
Then a break in the case.
"Over a decade after her murder, the biological evidence collected from the scene led to the development of a male DNA profile."
In January of this year, Prosecutor Billhimer and the OCPO presented the case to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office - Cold Case Task Force, and the case was reopened.
Now, John Pelletier, who had lived in Barnegat Township -- and passed away in North Dakota in 2015, according to the OCPO -- has been identified as the man who murdered Bloomquist.
"A full analysis of the evidence was conducted in a cooperative investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Barnegat Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police Cold Case Unit, and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit.
Thanks to technological advances - and with the assistance of BODE Technology - detectives were able to identify the male DNA profile collected from the scene in 1991 as belonging to John Pelletier, and reach the conclusion that Pelletier was, in fact, the individual responsible for Ms. Bloomquist’s murder."
There can now be closure.
“After more than three decades, this hideous crime has, at long last, been solved. 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,” Prosecutor Billhimer said in a written statement. “I’d like to thank the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the New Jersey State Police for the creation of the Cold Case Task Force. The resources made available through the collaborative investigative process the Cold Case Task Force provides allowed us to finally solve this heinous crime. Barnegat Township Chief of Police Keith Germain and Barnegat Township Detective William Hetrick deserve a lot of credit for never giving up on this case. I am grateful for their efforts."
Prosecutor Billhimer also credits the work in this investigation to "the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Barnegat Township Police Department, New Jersey Office of the Attorney General- Cold Case Task Force, New Jersey State Police Cold Case Unit, New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Manchester Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean Township (Monmouth County) Police Department, Asbury Park Police Department, Emmons County Sheriff’s Office (North Dakota), Morgan County Police Department (North Dakota), West Fargo Police Department (North Dakota), and BODE Technology."