N.J. women linked to bodies found in Harford

September 28, 1990|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Evening Sun Staff

The bodies of two women discovered more than a year ago in a trash bin behind a Harford County supermarket have tentatively been identified as two New Jersey women believed slain by a former police sergeant.

The bodies of the women are suspected to be Diane Palumbo Woodrow, 32, and her mother, Yolanda Nazzario Palumbo, 67. They were found the night of Aug. 12, 1989, in a trash bin behind the Super Fresh supermarket in the Joppatowne Shopping Center, 1000 block of Joppa Farm Road.

Andrew J. Woodrow, 26, of West Deptford in Gloucester County, was charged with the slayings earlier this month even though authorities in New Jersey had been unable to find the bodies, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer today.

The bodies are believed to have been those of his wife and mother-in-law.

Maryland State Police spokesman Chuck Jackson said today that investigators from the agency still were awaiting possible identification from dental records.

Woodrow was arrested Sept. 13 and charged in a 16-count indictment that alleged the former police sergeant had cashed 13 of his mother-in-law's Social Security checks totaling more than $5,000.

Police in New Jersey said the three had been sharing a mobile home trailer prior to the disappearance of the two woman.

Woodrow allegedly told a former neighbor that his wife and her mother had moved to California after they were no longer seen in their neighborhood. A relative of Woodrow's wife filed a missing person's report Aug. 10 and that led to the investigation and charges.

The suspect, described as an outstanding officer before being charged, was suspended from the town of Woodbury, N.J., police force without pay pending outcome of the case.

Police Chief Craig Hoelbinger today described Woodrow, a veteran of six years on the force, as "a very good officer. This has obviously surprised us." Before Woodrow was promoted, the chief said, Woodrow served as president of the Woodbury Police Association.

The women had been strangled and the bodies crammed into two brown, 32-gallon rubber trash cans which were found in the trash bin.

Super Fresh store manager Chris Thanner said he found the bodies while emptying trash from the market.

At the time of the discovery, police described the first woman as white, about 40 to 50 years old, 5 feet tall and 180 pounds. She had short salt and pepper hair, brown eyes and several teeth were missing from the upper right side.

She was wearing a green nightgown.

The other victim was also white, about 20 to 25 years old, #F 5-feet-5 inches tall and about 135 pounds. She had dark hair, brown eyes and was wearing bright red artificial fingernails and a RTC horseshoe design ring on her right index finger.

Police said she was wearing green pants and a blouse.

Since the bodies were found, State Police from the Bel Air barracks have checked scores of tips from people who believed they saw women resembling the victims.

Composite drawings of the victims were circulated among local businesses, published in area newspapers and distributed to other area police agencies. And teletype messages were sent to law enforcement agencies from Maine to Florida requesting information about the possible identities of the women.

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