Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Zarinsky

The Munster's House

Meanwhile, police and investigators from eight law enforcement agencies, descended upon the three-story stone house at the corner of 403 Bower Street in Linden. Armed with drills, saws, crowbars, hammers, pickaxes and metal detectors they frantically searched the house for any evidence that would link Zarinsky to the fatal shooting of Bernoskie and the murders of the four teenage girls.

The family home, vacant since 1995, was surrounded by unkempt bushes and tall evergreen trees, which Zarinsky had planted himself in an attempt to conceal the house from the outside world. A five-foot high, unfinished wall of stones bordered the east side of the home's dirt yard like a site specific sculpture that had run out of funding. Neighborhood kids referred to the place as "haunted." It was a rite of passage during the late 60s and early 70s to ring the doorbell and run, a dare fueled by rumors the man who lived there was a mass murderer.

It turned out the rumors were true.

Union County Police Lieutenant Michael Vena, who dealt with the media surge at the site, actually grew-up on Bower Street a half a block away from Zarinsky. He remembered him as being "strange."

"My father warned us about him," said Vena. "They lived in the Munster's house. It was a spook house. The place you avoided on Halloween for trick-or-treating. You'd walk on the other side of the street. Once in awhile you'd see the mother out in the yard. She was like an old witch...like if she looked at you...you'd turn to stone. It was a house to be avoided."

The home had been searched several times over the years, but those searches had been restricted to strictly surface items. This time investigators tore into the rafters, ripped open and x-rayed walls and floorboards.

Judith Sapsa was brought back to the house on day three of the search; the house she had grown-up in and left for good in 1962. Accompanied by her attorney, she was ushered into the side entrance and remained in the kitchen, where she recalled the fateful night of November 28, 1958.

"She pointed out where the table was that the surgery took place," said Pfeiffer. "She was very emotional. She felt horrible for having lived with this all her life. She thought she should have come forward a long time ago."

Thirty minutes later, she broke down in tears and had to be assisted from the scene.

The search continued for three more days.

Police hauled out of the house boxes of new evidence, including several pieces of jewelry.

According to the New York Times, "...authorities showed the jewelry to Mr. Zarinsky's sister...who told investigators she did not recognize the items."

One earring reportedly belonged to Ann Logan, a 19-year-old Seton Hall college student whose body was found in a wooded lot on East End Avenue in Roselle on September 18, 1973.

Logan had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

The case had never been solved.

Zarinsky was now a suspect in not only Bernoskie's death, but in the deaths of Linda Balabanow, Joanne Delardo, Donna Carlucci and Ann Logan.

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