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  1. #1
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    Some NJ Residents advised to their boil water (yuck)

    Divers found the body of a New Jersey water-treatment chemist at the bottom of a gigantic underground tank last night, and investigators are looking into the possibility of foul play. Meanwhile, the Passaic Valley Water Commission advised customers in 17 towns to boil their water a customary precaution when a foreign object is found in a tank.

    Geetha Angara, 43, a senior chemist, was last seen as she left her office at the commission's Totowa plant at around 10 a.m. Tuesday to check instruments in a water holding tank.

    Police and firefighters began looking for Angara Tuesday night, and yesterday searched the plant's grounds and underground tanks, which hold millions of gallons of water.

    Angara's husband and three children were at the plant as searchers began draining its gigantic tanks one by one. Finally, divers found her body in a 35-foot-deep sump opening at the bottom of one of the emptied tanks.

    "We are looking at this from every angle," said Passaic County Prosecutor James Avigliano. "We don't want to assume this woman fell in."


    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/21827.htm

  2. #2
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    I have been following this since the day it happened... I grew up about five minutes from there and worked for the competing water company for five years. I'm not surprised to hear it's a homicide now...

    "It was a homicide.

    A chemist found dead last week in a storage tank at a Totowa water treatment plant was killed, most likely by one of her co-workers, authorities said Monday.

    Citing autopsy results, investigators said Geetha Angara drowned at the Passaic Valley Water Commission plant, where she had worked for 12 years, and said they are questioning its 85-member workforce in the search for suspects. They declined to give information about what specifically made them conclude the senior chemist's death was a homicide.

    Already distraught over Angara's death, workers became more so with the revelation that someone among them may be to blame, personnel director James Gallagher said. From now on, he said, water testers and other employees will pair up as they make their rounds. Local and county law-enforcement officials plan to begin patrolling inside the plant as well.

    "There are obviously concerns and we're going to deal with them by making changes, such as the partner system, to make employees feel safer," Gallagher said.

    Angara, a 43-year-old mother of three, was last seen Feb. 8 at about 10 a.m. as she set out to test water quality. A plant manager reported her missing at 11:22 that night after colleagues noticed her car in the lot hours after her shift had ended. Police divers found her body in a drained below-ground tank the following evening. The tank is accessible only through a 4-foot-wide opening, which was covered by a heavy aluminum panel.

    Authorities refused to say what sort of struggle may have preceded Angara's fall into 30 feet of near-freezing water. Early on, investigators had said her body showed no obvious signs of trauma. On Monday, they declined to say what additional information the autopsy had revealed.

    Family members declined to comment on the homicide announcement, but they said last week that Angara had no known enemies or other work-related problems. The native of India had a doctorate from New York University and lived with her husband and three children in Holmdel. Funeral services were held over the weekend.

    Passaic County Prosecutor James F. Avigliano said it was "very doubtful" that someone outside the plant could have slipped in and killed Angara. He left open that possibility, however.

    "The only way someone could wander in is if they came from the area of the Passaic River or climbed over a 10-foot fence," Avigliano said.

    The Passaic County Sheriff's Department and Totowa police plan to begin patrolling the plant grounds by car and foot for an indefinite period, authorities said. Until now, officers only drove around the plant's perimeter.

    The company has no surveillance cameras in the building where Angara was working. A homeland security plan calls for installing cameras on the grounds and in some buildings, but that probably would not include water-testing areas, officials said.

    As senior chemist, Angara was in charge of calibrating sensors that measure water clarity. Those monitors line a concrete corridor where she was last seen working, and sit above the tank where she was found dead.

    Searchers found her body in a sump at one end of the tank. Her two-way radio, clipboard and a broken flask were found below the tank opening about 100 feet away, Avigliano said.

    Investigators initially focused on the diamond-plated aluminum covering that lay over the tank's opening. The plate measures 3.5 feet by 4.5 feet and weighs about 50 pounds, authorities say. At 5-feet, 5-inches tall and 175 pounds, Angara probably would have had trouble prying it loose and lifting it herself, investigators say.

    Investigators began interviewing plant employees last week and plan to speak with all 85 who work there, authorities said. A company spokesman refused to say how many were working at the time of Angara's disappearance. All have reported for work as scheduled since then, Avigliano said.

    The prosecutor has voiced frustration that borough police waited 10 hours to alert his office to Angara's disappearance and allowed a family member to drive the victim's car home. Totowa Police Chief Robert Coyle has said his officers initially had no reason to suspect homicide when a plant manager called to say a worker was missing.

    Also hampering detectives' efforts were the 13 hours that elapsed from the time Angara was last seen alive to the missing-person call. "This is going to be a difficult case," Avigliano said. "I'm just hoping through diligent work ... we're able to conclude it."

    To aid last week's search, officials drained millions of gallons of water from the 35-foot-deep tanks at the plant, which processes 75 million gallons of drinking water each day.

    The water commission's 800,000 customers did not have their service interrupted and tests showed no signs of contamination.

    As a precaution, however, the company advised customers to boil their drinking water on Wednesday and provided water from alternative sources while the search was conducted."

    http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=...ZxZWVFRXl5Mg==

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by L Lo 1103
    I have been following this since the day it happened... I grew up about five minutes from there and worked for the competing water company for five years. I'm not surprised to hear it's a homicide now...

    "Already distraught over Angara's death, workers became more so with the revelation that someone among them may be to blame, personnel director James Gallagher said. From now on, he said, water testers and other employees will pair up as they make their rounds. Local and county law-enforcement officials plan to begin patrolling inside the plant as well.
    L Lo you said you weren't surprised? Why weren't you suprised? Do you know something about the situation there?

    And the article states that water testers and other employees will pair up now as they make their rounds. What if they choose the wrong buddy?
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?


    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  4. #4
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    I just wasn't surprised because of the evidence that was coming out about the case. I've seen those tank covers and I know that they're not easy to move - and I figured there was no reason for her to need to move it. In addition to that I saw another article that said her two-way radio and clipboard appeared to have been thrown in the tank after her (don't ask me how they could possibly tell that). It just all started sounding really fishy.

    Could you imagine if you chose the wrong buddy?! It's scary to think it was one of her co-workers! I have a friend at work who is convinced she must have had a jilted lover/co-worker and that was who did her in... That's just wild speculation, but it should be interesting to see what emerges as this case develops!

  5. #5
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    Does anyone else find it a little strange that she wasn't missed at home? That it was co-workers who spotted her car in the parking lot late who figured out she was missing? I'm not trying to point any fingers, I just find it odd. I didn't find any articles out there that said maybe she normally would work late without calling, or anything like that. I just know that my husband would be calling to check on me if I didn't come home when I was supposed to.
    It just has me wondering.......
    Shelly

  6. #6
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    Wow it was a homicide! I wonder if she was having an affair or something with another worker?

    PS I must have been drunk the night I titled this thread

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by shellys
    Does anyone else find it a little strange that she wasn't missed at home? That it was co-workers who spotted her car in the parking lot late who figured out she was missing? I'm not trying to point any fingers, I just find it odd. I didn't find any articles out there that said maybe she normally would work late without calling, or anything like that. I just know that my husband would be calling to check on me if I didn't come home when I was supposed to.
    It just has me wondering.......
    Shelly
    Yup, that was my first thought when I read that it was her boss who reported her missing after co-workers noticed her car in the parking lot. Why didn't her husband call to inquire why she hadn't made it home? Maybe there is some logical explanation for why the husband didn't report her missing.

    imo

  8. #8
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    Here is today's update from the NY Post.

    "MYSTERIOUS TANK KILLING ROCKS KIN OF 'PERFECT' MA

    BY JEANE MacINTOSH
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    February 17, 2005 -- GEETHA ANGARA was a loving wife, a dedicated mother of three, and a brilliant scientist living an idyllic life in the suburbs of New Jersey. That is, until last week when she was viciously hurled down a dark, water-filled shaft at her workplace and drowned.

    Detectives say there's no doubt her killer is one of 85 people she worked with at the Passaic Valley Water Commission plant in Totowa, which purifies 83 million gallons of drinking water a day.

    But eight days after the heinous slaying, which has devastated her close-knit family and jolted the town of Holmdel where they live, authorities had nobody in custody and admit they have a complex murder mystery on their hands.

    Just who would want to kill Angara, 43, who had no known enemies, was not believed to have a secret love life and always had a smile on her face?

    "This is a very, very tough case," Passaic County Prosecutor James Avigliano told The Post.

    "And with the absence of a motive, it's going to be even harder."

    Just as hard is the absolute devastation being felt by her husband, Jaya, 50, and their two daughters, ages 9 and 19, and son, 13.

    "She was the perfect mom, the perfect sister, the perfect wife she was able to change roles with such ease. She was a pillar of strength to her family," said her younger sister, who asked not to be identified.

    "She was always happy, very dedicated to her work and her family. Just look at her schedule: The kids have basketball, swimming, dance, piano. I don't know how she did it all."

    On Feb. 8, Angara left early in the morning for the plant, where her job was to take water-quality readings and maintain equipment that treated it before it was piped to homes in Passaic, Paterson and Clifton.

    "She had told the kids she'd be back at 6 p.m. for her daughter's basketball game," said an older sister, who also asked not to be identified.

    But when night fell, Angara didn't show up at the family's $750,000 home in suburban Holmdel, 42 miles from the plant.

    And while she sometimes had to work late, she usually called. Repeated calls to her cellphone by her husband, a banker, went unanswered.

    "The family had made dinner and the kids were waiting for her. They waited until 9 for her to come. Jaya told the kids to eat," the older sister told The Post. "He was worried something was wrong. He said, 'I'm getting really scared.' "

    At 9, one of the daughters answered a phone call from a plant supervisor, who wanted her mom's cellphone number but didn't say why. The call worried the husband, who called his wife's sisters and told them he feared the worst.

    The older sister told Jaya to stay home with the children while they drove to the workplace. They were greeted by police, who explained that Angara's car was still on the property but she was nowhere to be found.

    Cops later took the family to her lab, where eerily, all of her belongings lay undisturbed.

    "Her jacket was in her locker, her pocketbook was open on the counter, her briefcase was on the floor and her cellphone was there," the older sister said.

    For the next 17 hours, nobody in the family slept, as cops scoured the plant and police divers were brought in to begin the daunting task of searching the dozens of 35-foot-deep tanks, which were all drained of their 36-degree drinking water.

    Finally, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Angara's crumpled, near-frozen body was discovered at the bottom of one tank. The grate covering it had been moved.

    Police learned she had last been seen at about 10 a.m. Tuesday as she went to test water and calibrate treatment machinery. At first, Angara's death appeared to be an accident, but detectives soon realized there were many questions. For one thing, there was no way she could have moved the heavy grating on the tank by herself. And her hand-held radio and clipboard appeared to have been tossed into the tank after her fall.

    Then, earlier this week, an autopsy revealed that Angara had been murdered.

    While she drowned in the tank, tests revealed other evidence on her body pointing to homicide and, possibly, that she had struggled.

    Cops also found broken pieces of a beaker she had been carrying near her body and by the opening of the tank.

    Avigliano said his detectives are continuing to interview and re-interview employees to see if there are any holes in their stories.

    "We are doing the interviews at the plant, at the prosecutor's office, wherever we can track them down," he said.

    For the family, though, it still comes back to one simple question: Why?

    The autopsy showed that Angara had not been sexually assaulted. She was not known to have enemies at the plant or access to sensitive information that might have had a part in her murder. Her sisters said Angara had moved to New York from India in 1984 for a better life, worked at Columbia University, and then obtained a doctorate in chemistry from New York University.

    She had worked at the plant for 12 years, enjoyed her job and didn't mind working 12-hour days.

    "She was the most noncontroversial person. I've never seen her raise her voice. She was always happy," said her younger sister.

    "It feels as if she had just stepped away for a minute and is coming back. It's just baffling."

    But she also questioned why plant bosses hadn't discovered something was amiss earlier, particularly in a place that has such heavy security.

    "That's the biggest thing bothering me. Wouldn't someone look for her? Is everybody there doing his job? Shouldn't they know someone is missing?" the sister wondered.

    But Ernie Landante, a spokesman for the water commission, said Angara wouldn't necessarily be noticed as missing during the day. "Her position didn't require her to stay seated in one place," he said. "It was not unthinkable she could be outside her office for an extended period. As soon as her car was discovered in the parking lot, security notified the police."

    Last weekend, Angara was cremated during a Hindu service attended by her large extended family, including her parents, who flew in from India.

    Just how the relatives can pick up the pieces of their shattered lives seems impossible to figure out right now.

    And they want to know, who had it in for their sister?

    Who would destroy the glue that held together a beautiful, loving family?

    And, maybe most importantly, how can that person live with himself and continue to work at the plant as if nothing happened?"

    I also just wanted to add that the local news reported that someone (her supervisor I think) from Passaic Valley Water did call the local police in Totowa, but that the police didn't believe it required investigation at that time. It was only after the second call came in later that night (around 11:00 I think?) that they responded and began investigating.

    One last thing - the news also said that for some reason, the police allowed her husband to drive her car home, then as the investigation progressed, had him bring back so it could be inspected. If there was any evidence in the car it would have been compromised. The local police are geting a lot of heat around here and are being accused of bungling the case.

  9. #9
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    Okay, the new article makes me feel better regarding her family. Sounds like they DID miss her. I guess in just a few hours, what could/would you really do. Just wait for a bit I suppose and hope she showed up. This is really sad for the family -- and scary for her co-workers. I can't imagine having to work in a situation where the police pretty much came out and said that SOMEBODY you are working with is a murderer. Creepy!

  10. #10
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    Rita Cosby's doing a short piece on this right now.....Law and Order filmed an episode at the same water plant. I didn't hear when this was filmed though. Right now its not clear if Law and Order will air this part or if they already did.

    The beaker that the chemist was holding was swept up with a broom and the victims car was allowed to be driven home by her brother. Complaints about the way the investigation was handled....

    Ernie from the Passaic Water Plant says they don't know anything. The employees are being screened and interviewed. Now someone mentioned that it was filmed 6 months ago. Unable to get anyone to talk about this as the idea is that it was an inside job. The results of the autopsy haven't been released although her body has....she was or is to be cremated per her her Hindu religion.