NJ Chemist Murder Investigators Looking For A Motive
There is more behind the homicide designation, but Prosecutor James Avigliano said he cannot discuss it. Asked if Angara's body had suffered trauma that might suggest she was murdered, the prosecutor responded: "The cause of death is drowning. Drowning does not give rise to a homicide (designation), so obviously, there was something else."
Angara mainly worked in a lab inside the commission's Totowa water-treatment plant, but her job often took her down to a pair of frigid tunnels in the basement, where she calibrated water-monitoring equipment and collected water specimens from hoses along the wall for testing.
Avigliano said investigators do not believe Angara committed suicide. Nor do they believe it was an accident, in part because someone replaced the steel access panel separating the tunnel floor from the mammoth tank.
Geetha Angara was the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect scientist. She was not the perfect murder victim. "That's what's bizarre about this whole thing," Avigliano said. "There's no indication she was disliked. If she was a target of something, you'd at least have something to go on, but here you have this innocuous case of a woman just doing her job."
Angara, a native of India who was cremated in a Hindu funeral ceremony over the weekend, was married with two daughters, 19 and 8, and a son, 13. Angara, who earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from New York University, went to work for the Passaic Valley Water Commission 12 years ago. Relatives said she loved her work, and she was rewarded for doing it well. Last year, she was promoted to the position of senior chemist.