The police investigative records concerning the death of John Fiocco Jr. have been sealed, following an attempt by his parents to gain access to the records.
According to the public opinion published by Linda R. Feinberg, New Jersey Superior Court judge, the New Jersey State Police, who were being sued by the Fioccos for access to the records, adequately established that “the requested records meet the definition of criminal investigatory records and are thus deemed confidential.”
Feinberg wrote that although there has not yet been evidence discovered that suggests homicide as the cause of Fiocco’s death, “(the Division of State Police) has not ruled out homicide, and a criminal investigation is ongoing.”
However, according to an article published by The Philadelphia Inquirer on May 21, Glenn A. Zeitz, a lawyer for the Fiocco family, said he is confident evidence will prove the police are no longer carrying out a criminal investigation.
John Fiocco Jr. was a freshman at the College when he was reported missing by friends on March 26, 2006, the day after he was last seen in Wolfe Hall. His body was found in a Tullytown, Pa., landfill on April 25, 2006.
On March 3 of this year, the Fioccos filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the College, claiming that the trash compactor in Wolfe Hall was not properly secured.
According to the Inquirer article, the family wished to use the police investigative records in their lawsuit against the College.
Feinberg described the Fioccos’ request of police records as “premature” and suggested that the family pursue evidence in its case against the College as part of its lawsuit. She added that if the family should find a need for evidence discovered at the time of Fiocco’s disappearance, they “may have a common law right to those materials” at a later date.
Feinberg also requested that the New Jersey State Police provide her with details of any criminal investigations occurring in connection with Fiocco’s death and an approximate timeline for how long these investigations will last.
Matt Golden, executive director of Public Affairs at the College, said he understands the Fioccos’ need to learn about their son’s death.
“The sad truth, however, is that we do not know how John died,” Golden said. “The College will continue to cooperate, in every possible manner, with the law enforcement agencies investigating the case, and we hope to one day have greater clarity regarding what led to this tragic loss.”