On Friday, February 22, 1991, Dede Rosenthal reported to work at the Elwyn Institute in Vineland, New Jersey, where she trained staff to work with autistic children. At 4:47 p.m., on the way home from work, she withdrew eighty dollars from an automatic teller machine (ATM). Later that evening, she spoke on the phone with a friend, Sherri Klemow. She also spoke with John Bristol, whom she had been dating. Bristol worked at Somerset Towers in Cherry Hill, the apartment complex where Rosenthal lived.
Early the next morning, a loud noise emanating from Rosenthal’s apartment awoke Lucy Faricelli, Rosenthal’s elderly downstairs neighbor. Although she would later express some confusion about the exact date she heard the noise, Faricelli told police in March 1991 that she heard a “thump” on the floor above her late Friday night. She also heard Rosenthal’s patio door open and close, and heard a cat crying on the balcony. Prior to that night, she had never heard any noises from Rosenthal’s apartment.
Rosenthal did not report to work on Monday, February 25, or Tuesday, February 26, nor did she call in sick or contact anyone at the Elwyn Institute. Rosenthal had no prior unexplained absences from work during her previous six months of employment. Two of her coworkers became concerned and, on Wednesday, February 27, reported Rosenthal missing to the Cherry Hill Police Department.
Police officers went to Rosenthal’s apartment to investigate the report. They noticed that newspapers had accumulated outside the unlocked front door. Upon entering her unit, the officers observed that the apartment was neat and showed no sign of a struggle or forced entry. Rosenthal’s bed was made. Her closets were orderly and full of clothes, and her luggage, passport, and personal appointment book were still in the apartment. Rosenthal’s keys were on the kitchen counter and her cat was outside on the balcony. The temperature inside the apartment was normal and the officers noted no unusual odors or smells. Her car, containing her briefcase and topcoat, was still in the parking lot. A subsequent search of the entire apartment complex and its grounds by the officers, assisted by a dog trained to detect the scent of human decomposition, failed to locate Rosenthal.
As part of the investigation, police interviewed employees of the apartment complex, including Bristol, who told them he had last spoken with Rosenthal at approximately 10:00 p.m. on Friday night. They also spoke with defendant, who worked as a porter in the building. Defendant answered their questions but denied any knowledge of Rosenthal’s whereabouts.
Further efforts to locate Rosenthal proved unsuccessful. The police contacted individuals named in Rosenthal’s personal appointment book, but nobody had heard from or seen Rosenthal since February 22, 1991. The police confirmed that no one named Dede Rosenthal had purchased a plane, train, or bus ticket. Discussions with employees at Rosenthal’s bank disclosed that one banking transaction occurred on March 1, 1991, but the police later discounted that as a pre-arranged, automated transaction.
On June 12, 1992, police in Burlington County arrested defendant on another, unrelated charge. Hearing of the arrest, the officers investigating Rosenthal’s disappearance again questioned defendant. He continued to deny any knowledge of, or involvement in, her disappearance.
Rosenthal’s family made additional attempts to locate her. Private investigators hired by the family were unable to discover anything regarding her disappearance. The family’s continuing efforts, however, did result in the feature of Rosenthal’s disappearance on an episode of the television show “Unsolved Mysteries.” That episode aired nationally six times between April 1993 and October 1995. In response to the broadcasts, the program received more than 150 calls from around the country, including Florida, Oklahoma, and California. The Cherry Hill Police Department sent form letters to the police departments in each city from which the calls originated, requesting assistance in following up sightings reported by viewers in those areas. Those local police departments then reported back to the Cherry Hill department. None of those leads bore fruit.
On October 6, 1995, more than four years after Dede Rosenthal disappeared, investigating officers of the Cherry Hill Police Department, still with no leads and no suspects, learned from a television news broadcast that defendant had been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Rebecca Wertz, and other charges, and was being held in Burlington County Jail. On October 11, detectives from the Cherry Hill Police Department interviewed defendant at the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. After waiving his Miranda1 rights, defendant provided a lengthy tape-recorded statement admitting that he had killed Rosenthal and disposed of her body in Salem County. Later that evening, he placed a telephone call to John Knarr, a reporter for the Burlington County Times. In an interview tape-recorded by Knarr, defendant again admitted to killing Rosenthal
Rebecca Wertz (no picture)
Yeda Sharon “Dede” Rosenthal
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Charles E Reddish
SBI Number: 000932598A
Sentenced as: Reddish, Charles E
Hair Color: Gray
Eye Color: Brown
Weight: 193 lbs.
Birth Date: March 17, 1961
Admission Date: March 19, 1999
Current Facility: NJSP
Current Max Release Date: N/A
Current Parole Eligibility Date: N/A
Filed under: crime, Domestic Violence, Monsters Among Us, murder, murder in the 20th Century | Tagged: "no body", 1991, death penalty, Dede Rosenthal, hatchet, homicide, Monsters Among Us, New Jersey, Rebecca Wertz, sex crime, suffocation | 1 Comment »