Tuesday, April 04, 2006

John Fiocco, Jr.

After a night of drinking with friends at an off-campus party, TCNJ freshman John Fiocco, Jr. returned to Wolfe Hall where he was a resident of the 4th floor. Reportedly, Fiocco was intoxicated to the point that Amanda Samaha, a friend and 3rd floor co-ed, was concerned for his safety on the stairs and escorted him to his floor.
She guessed that was probably about 2 a.m. Samaha said she saw Fiocco go down one wing of the hallway as she went to meet a friend on the opposite wing.

About 30 minutes later, as she sat talking with a friend in the hallway, Samaha said they both saw Fiocco come out of the men's bathroom. He got a drink of water from a water fountain in the hall and offered some greeting to Samaha and her friend so routine that she can't remember exactly what it was.

"I left soon after that" to return to the third floor, she said.

Fiocco was last seen at approximately 3 am sleeping in the dorm room of another female student along with two other students. When the two awoke the next morning, John Fiocco was nowhere to be found. Left behind were his shoes and a wet sock. Rather odd. Even odder is the fact that police found John's blood in and around a garbage dumpster in Wolfe Hall. They sent fiber-optic cameras down a garbage chute that empties into the dumpster, but have given no indication that any additional blood was found in the chute or elsewhere in the TCNJ dormitory building.

When I first heard about this story, I pictured a sloping garbage chute from the 4th floor to the basement dumpster and imagined a drunken stunt or hazing prank gone awry. However, after seeing a photograph of the chute last night, I'm more inclined to believe that whoever put John Fiocco, Jr. down that chute had already done or intended to do him harm. A 2-ft x 2-ft opening leads to a vertical drop through a 3-ft x 3-ft shaft to a platform below, where a robotic arm sweeps the trash off into the dumpster. It was suggested by Dr. Larry Kobilinsky last night on Nancy Grace's Headline News program that Mr. Fiocco fell four stories to land on that platform head first. The blood reported as being found around the dumpster was actually on the platform. That's a horrific scenario, but it fits with what we know so far.

Authorities have been searching a Pennsylvania landfill for John Fiocco's remains and have tapped the state trooper academy for 15 recruits to assist in the grim task. It's likely to take weeks, if not months, to find anything. A team of 38 people searching 11 hours a day, four days a week, took nearly two months to find the badly decomposed body of Lori Hacking in a Utah landfill after her husband shot and disposed of her in a trash bin in July of 2004.

The dormitory was thoroughly searched by forensics teams, and the residents were interviewed by investigators. The College of New Jersey has set up an anonymous tip line -- (609) 538-8180 -- and an e-mail address, Crimestoppers@tcnj.edu, and posted a reward for any information regarding John Fiocco, Jr.'s disappearance. Someone in Wolfe Hall that night knows what happened to Mr. Fiocco. Let's hope authorities are able to get to the bottom of it and recover the young man's body for his family's sake.