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Students, Faculty Remember Fallen Brookdale Student

October 13, 2012 by admin

By Joe Malanaphy

     One year has gone by since the tragic passing of Brookdale student Mary Macaluso. Macaluso, who had been newly appointed to secretary of the History and Political Science Club, died the night of Oct. 9, 2011.

     Few details have emerged over the course of the last year, and those that have are sketchy at best, giving no real insight into what may have happened, and leaving family and friends with no resolve or closure.

     The facts that have been made available to the public revealed that Macaluso was at Deko in Sayreville on a date that she made through an online dating service. Her date's car broke down, which resulted in them making arrangements for a tow truck to transport the vehicle as well as take them to their respective homes.

     Dexter Jeanty, a then 21-year-old tow-truck driver, responded and dropped Macaluso's date off at home. What happened from that point forward remains a mystery. Sadly, Macaluso did not make it home that night, and her body was found along Route 18 in Ocean Township by an off-duty police officer.

     Jeanty was charged with "leaving the scene of a fatal accident" which he pled not guilty to. Jeanty posted bail and has since remained free.

     When reached for comment back in May, acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Grammiccioni said "Jeanty is out on bail," and "the case is still under investigation."

     First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Richard Incremona was reached for comment Sept. 7 and said "this office will be presenting that case to the grand jury in the very near future." Incremona declined further comment.

     Before her passing, Macaluso had been elected secretary of the History and Political Science Club. "She was so happy to serve in that capacity," said Professor Jonathan Moschberger. "I will be writing a letter to send to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. Mary's parents are totally behind this effort as they have no new information as of the last time I spoke to them back in May. I want to have my letter signed onto by many members of our campus community," said Moschberger.

     Moschberger added "This is a travesty of justice. It's hard to believe this murderer is walking free."

     "We're doing the best we can. It's just me and my husband now," said Macaluso's mother Laurie.

     Asked if Monmouth County Prosecutors have any new information, Laurie said "It's basically been the same since last year. They said it could take years."

     "Supposedly he (Jeanty) is from Woodbridge and knew quite a few women from Woodbridge," Laurie said.

     She also said "I think it's definitely the tow-truck driver."

     "At first prosecutors said that the tow-truck driver knows eight to 10 people from that website, and may have known Mary's date as well," Laurie said. But she added that Mary's date "wasn't involved. They were just out on a date and his car broke down."

     Nick Simonelli, a 20-year-old political science major and President of the Conquer Cancer Club, was friends with Macaluso. "She was a great friend. She got me involved in the clubs here, and now I'm president of my own club, so I owe her for that," Simonelli said.

     "She was just a joy to everybody. I knew her family, her mother, Laurie, worked at Shoprite with me," he said.

     "Their son died when he was 6 and now they lost Mary, so they have nothing," Simonelli said. "Anytime you needed Mary she was there and her family was the same way."

     "I'm disgusted at where the case has gone. They just let this guy out on bail. I know Mary wouldn't try to kill herself, this guy did it," Simonelli said.

     "All I can do now is live vicariously for her. She was always a kind person, and we will never forget her," he said.

     Donna Kosenko, a friend of Macaluso and current President of the HPSC said "I have so much to say about Mary that it's difficult to put thoughts to paper. And I don't know if I can do her justice."

     "Mary was the type of person who left an impression on everyone she met. You always knew when she walked into a room, wearing a smile and her favorite color pink, Mary's enthusiasm seemed to spread like wildfire," Kosenko said.

     "She had a very difficult life after losing her younger brother in a tragic accident. She started to do poorly in school and eventually dropped out," she said.

     "But Mary was a survivor. She worked to get her GED at the age of 25, and was enrolled at Brookdale by 26. She jumped into the college experience with both feet, engaging in club activities with a fervor," Kosenko said.

     "She was elected as club secretary to the History and Political Science Club and seemed to finally find herself. Mary was an inspiration to us all. No matter what path you find yourself on, you can always change direction to a better one. That was Mary," Kosenko said.

     A memorial tree-planting ceremony will be held during the college hour on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

     For more information please contact: jmoschberger@brookdalecc.edu

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