Case still unresolved; investigation ongoing

Nearly one year after the disappearance of freshman John Fiocco Jr., the case is still unsolved and seemingly no closer to resolution than months ago.

“There are no new developments at this point,” Lt. Gerald Lewis of New Jersey State Police said.

He said the case is still considered open, and investigators will continue listening and following up on any leads they receive.

The last significant development in the investigation took place in November, when police received a tip about a possible hide-and-seek game that Lewis said was later found to be “unsubstantiated.”

College President R. Barbara Gitenstein said she has not been informed of any new developments.

“The last update I got was about four or five months ago and it was basically, ‘There is no update,'” she said, adding that police “have been very responsive to any questions I’ve asked.”

According to Gitenstein, the College has also not received any further information on a lawsuit on behalf of the Fiocco family. Last summer, the family filed a legal notice, that indicated their possible intent to sue the College for more than $5 million.

In an interview with The Signal, Gitenstein reflected on the incident and the effect on the College.

“I remember every minute of it … and not happily,” she said. However, she emphasized that despite the challenges facing the campus, “I never felt prouder of this community.”

Gitenstein said she was impressed by the kindness exhibited by members of the campus when so many people needed it the most.

“I think we felt that people off the campus weren’t that sensitive to us, so we knew we had to help each other, and we did,” she said.

Gitenstein said that despite the tragedy, she has noticed some positive changes in the school since last spring.

“People are more attentive to one another,” she said. “I think faculty and staff are more attentive to students who might be in some type of distress.”

In terms of the campus’ reputation, Gitenstein said she thinks people were pleased that the College community faced the problem and never tried to ignore it.

“There were posters all over campus with (Fiocco’s) face on them,” she said. “We were certainly not trying to hide it.”