Off-Road Vehicle Sweep Next Step in Search for Missing Whiting Woman
Joan Conetta, 74, was reported missing on June 11
By Gregory Kyriakakis
July 6, 2012
Police plan to use all terrain vehicles next week to sweep wooded areas along Route 530 as their search for a missing Whiting woman continues.
Officers plan to use about 10 ATVs on Tuesday, July 10, to search along the county highway from 74-year-old Joan Conetta's Crestwood Village I home toward Berkeley Township, said Manchester police Detective Chris Hemhauser.
Some of the vehicles will come from the Jackson Police Department and Ocean County Sheriff's Department, the detective said. Hemhauser is also working to secure a helicopter for an aerial search, he said.
Conetta, a grey-haired, hazel-eyed woman who is approximately 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 100 pounds, was reported missing on June 11. Since then, authorities have brought in cadaver dogs to search the woods near her home, canvassed her neighborhood multiple times, and utilized bicycles and boats to scour Whiting's trails and bodies of water.
A potential sighting of Conetta along Route 530 reported to police by neighbors on June 20 turned up nothing.
"We can't say it was her," Hemhauser said. "There's no way to confirm it was her."
During their last canvass in late June, police visited 292 homes and 73 other buildings in Whiting to inquire about Conetta and spread the word of her disappearance, according to Hemhauser.
On June 20, two cadaver dogs — one from the Bergen County Sheriff's Office and another from the New Jersey State Police — searched of areas near Conetta's home for remains and found nothing. Authorities brought in the dogs as a procedural matter — they do not have any indication that Conetta may have died in the woods.
"We're utilizing all our investigative tools for the process of elimination," said Capt. Lisa Parker said at the time.
Conetta's photo and description have been added to the New Jersey State Police's missing person list. Her DNA and dental records also have been gathered and indexed in a database, a process Hemhauser described as "part of completing a checklist" and not indicative of authorities believing she has died.
Conetta was last believed to be wearing a grey jogging suit and often takes walks to the Crestwood Village Shopping Center, according to Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski.
Conetta does not have access to an automobile and may be suffering from disorientation, said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford in a statement issued in June.
Anyone who may have information regarding Conetta's whereabouts is asked to contact Hemhauser at 732-657-2009, ext. 4207, or Detective Brian Haggerty of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office at 732-929-2027.