Decades after family’s horrific slaying, police hope for a break
FOLSOM — It's been 40 years since a married couple and their child were brutally killed in their home but State Police haven't forgotten about them and are hoping to finally crack the case.
The investigation stems from the triple killings of Gary and Joan Deal and their 3-year-old son, Jason, in the rural Atlantic County borough of Folsom.
On Wednesday, the state police shared a Facebook post with the gory details of the event.
Police found Gary, 26, lying in a pool of blood near the front door. He had been shot multiple times in the head and his throat was cut.
Joan, 24, was found naked on their bedroom floor, also with multiple gunshots to her hear and her throat slit.
Young Jason was found in his pajamas in bed with his throat slashed.
Police at the time knew it was not a suicide slaying. But they found no weapons, no sign of forced entry, no evidence of a struggle, according to an Associated Press report published in newspapers on Oct. 31, 1978.
Police weren't even sure how long the bodies had been in the house. Police at the time told reporters that Gary had last been seen on a Thursday before his brother went to the house on Monday and discovered the bodies. Police said relatives had tried to reach the couple over the weekend after Gary failed to show up to work on Friday at a fence company, the AP reported.
"The brutal murder of the Deal family sent shockwaves throughout New Jersey and across the country, with numerous law enforcement agencies assisting with the case," police said this week.
Forty years later there have been many developments in technology and investigative skills that the State Police are hoping can help crack the case. Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Flynn said they are "confident" that there are people who know what happened that night.
Flynn said over the past year detectives have found new leads and also submitted existing evidence for re-examination. That includes sending some evidence to the FBI for further examination. While the technology is helpful, Flynn said they are really counting on the public to provide them with "even the smallest tip" about what might have happened.
"No potential tip is too small." he said. "It could be something that could confirm a lead detectives are already working on."
Having a case go cold for 40 years is not out of the question, but Flynn said for surviving relatives of the Deal family there is hope that they might finally get the answers they have been waiting for.
"They most certainly are hoping that this renewed public interest could solve the case, bring some closure to the family, bring some closure to the community. It was devastating to the community and the family," Flynn said.
The State Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call Detective Mario Nocito of the New Jersey State Police Homicide Unit at 609-561-1800 ext. 3354. Information can be submitted anonymously.