NJ_egyptian_family_killed_2005
N.J. family in mystery massacre

Monica and Sylvia (below) Armanious died with parents.

 

Four members of a Jersey City family - including an 8-year-old girl - were found murdered yesterday with their throats slashed in a crime that is baffling police.

The bound and gagged bodies of the mother, father and their two daughters were discovered after relatives became concerned they could not reach the family and contacted police.

Jersey City cops broke down the door to the victims' two-story wood frame house on Oakland Ave. and came upon the gruesome scene.

"I feel terrible," said horrified neighbor Esther Reynaga. "I can't imagine a person with the heart to cut the throat of an 8-year-old girl. A wild beast kills because he's hungry. Who would do this?"

The dead were identified as Hassam Armanious, 46, a banquet server; his wife, Arnal Garas, 36, a letter carrier; Sylvia Armanious, 16, and her little sister, Monica.

Emad Fahmy, 29, a cousin of Garas', said Sylvia, a student at Dickinson High school, was to have had her Sweet 16 party tonight.

Neighbors described the family as tight-knit Egyptian immigrants, and the two girls as pretty and popular.

Monica was a student at nearby Public School 6, where a custodian, who asked that her name not be used, remembered seeing her Wednesday.

"The parents always picked her up," the custodian recalled. "She was beautiful."

Eric Mora, 43, a neighbor, recalled the girls riding bicycles in the working-class neighborhood. He said the older daughter was popular and had many friends.

The custodian, who also knew the older girl, described her as intelligent and smart: "She wanted to be a teacher. She was always smiling."

Originally published on January 15, 2005
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FAMILY OF 4 SLAUGHTERED

By LORENA MONGELLI, JEANE MacINTOSH and TODD VENEZIA
New York Post

January 15, 2005 -- BLOODBATH:Investigators remove the bodies of the Armanious family from their Jersey City home yesterday as an uncle, Ayman Garas, weeps at the scene (inset). Michael DaltonLEAP OF FAITH:Amal Garas and her husband, Hossam Armanious in a family photo with their daughters, Monica (left) and Sylvia had moved to Jersey City after fleeing religious persecution in Egypt. A family of Christians who fled persecution in Egypt ran into a bloody nightmare in Jersey City where the husband, wife and their two daughters were found knifed to death in their home yesterday, authorities said.

The bodies of Hossam Armanious, 46, his wife, Amal Garas, 36, and their two young daughters Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8 were found gagged with their throats slit at 4 a.m. yesterday inside the green, two-story, wood-frame home they had moved into five years ago.

Investigators were struggling to figure out who could have slaughtered the religiously devout family and why.

Jersey City Police Chief Robert Troy said police are leaning toward the suspect being at least an acquaintance, after finding no sign of a break-in.

"I don't believe it was random," he said. "They probably knew their killers."

The bloody scene of horror was discovered after relatives who had not seen Armanious and his wife for days grew worried and went to police.

Garas' brother, Ayman, led cops up to the entrance of the two-family Oakland Avenue home, which the family bought in 2000 for $95,000.

He gave cops permission to break open the door, which they did. A heinous scene was revealed in which the husband, wife and two girls were found slaughtered in separate rooms, Ayman said.

Family members who had identified the loved ones' bodies said their faces were contorted in a way that indicated they put up a fierce struggle.

Police said they believe the family was killed between 36 and 46 hours before their bodies were found. The last time that anyone had seen any of them was when one of the children was spotted at school Tuesday, cops said.

"It's a terrible, terrible crime scene," Chief Troy said.

"This hearkens back to 40 years ago, 'In Cold Blood,' " said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, referring to the 1959 slaying of four members of a Kansas family, which led to an acclaimed book and movie of the same name.

The loss left Ayman Garas stunned.

"We're a close family," he told reporters. "It's very sad, I never expected my sister was going to be killed and her husband and her kids."

Armanious and his wife came from Luxor, Egypt, in 1995, pals said.

Relatives said he came here looking for a good job and a good place to raise his then-only daughter.

"They took risks getting here looking for a better life," said Emile Garas, 60, an uncle of Amal.

Rafique Iscandar, 51, who described himself as Armanious' best friend, said his pal also came because of the pressure of being Christian in Muslim Egypt.

Armanious saw extremism growing in Luxor, Iscandar said, even in the days before the terrible 1997 massacre of tourists at the ancient temple there, which killed 58.

"They were afraid there," Iscandar said. "They are under siege by the government. We lived in fear."

After the family moved to the United States, Armanious got a job working in a convenience store owned by Iscandar.

But Armanious had other dreams.

With a degree from a Luxor University in hotel management, he got a job as a catering manager at a Marriott, Iscandar said.

Things started looking up for the family. They had a second daughter. Garas got a job with the U.S. Postal Service in Kearny, N.J. They bought the two-family home, which provided an opportunity for extra income from an upstairs apartment they could rent.

Iscandar said Armanious even joined with him in an effort to better the lives of his fellow Christians back in Luxor by working with a human-rights organization called the American Coptic Union.

They also were devout, churchgoing people who attended services at St. George and St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church.

"This is a shock," said Father Sorial Sorial, the pastor there. "I can't understand how evil can go to that extent."

The family had recently hit hard times, however. Armanious lost his hotel job about six months ago and tried to support his family with construction work. They were also the victims of a recent burglary, which left them frightened.

"After that they were very scared," Iscandar said. "They reinforced all their doors and windows."

Police said they were pursing "three avenues" of inquiry in the case. They would not give details, but Chief Troy told The Post, "There was a family living [at the family's home] previously that is being investigated."

Troy would not say if anyone was living in the rental apartment, but he said that police did not consider any possible ten ant there a suspect.

News of the death hit the family's neighborhood in Jersey City hard.

"I feel very, very bad," said Mohammed Riaz Khan, who lives across the street from the victims. "They were a nice family."

The family members had been with their extended clan most recently on Jan. 7, which was the Coptic Christmas celebration. Michael Fahmy, a family member said the clan planned to come together again today for Sylvia's Sweet 16 birthday party.

"It was supposed to be a big party," he said. "We reserved a big hall. We had to cancel everything today."

Brendon Echardt, 14, was a friend to Sylvia, a popular teen who loved acting.

He said news of her death came to an acting class she took at New Jersey City University via a text message received by one of her best friends. He said the news left classmates in tears.


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Family of Four Found Slain in N.J. Home

By JEFFREY GOLD Associated Press Writer

A police investigator stands on the porch of a house in Jersey City, N.J., where four family members were found slain Friday, Jan. 14, 2005, their throats slit, authorities said. A man, a woman and two children, whom police identified as Hossam Armanious, 46; Amal Garas, 36; Sylvia Armanious, 16; and Monica Armanious, 8, were discovered after relatives reported the four had not been heard from in several days. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)Height

 JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A couple and their daughters - their bodies bound and gagged and their throats slashed - were found slain inside their modest two-story home early Friday. Grieving relatives described the four victims as a religious family with "no enemies."

Police broke down the front door of the family's house after relatives said they had not heard from them for several days. There were no immediate arrests.

WNBC-TV in New York reported authorities were investigating whether a former tenant who had had a dispute with the family was involved.

The victims were identified as Hossam Armanious, 46; his wife, Amal Garas, 36; and their daughters, Sylvia Armanious, 16, and Monica Armanious, 8.

On Friday night, about 50 mourners gathered at an annex of St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church, a Christian congregation attended by the family and other Egyptians.

Emad Fahmy, 29, a cousin of the slain woman, described the victims as a "small, happy family - a religious family. They have no enemies."

Fahmy said Amal Garas was a letter carrier and her husband was a banquet server. The older girl - set to have a Sweet 16 party Saturday night - was active in the school drama department; Monica sang in the church choir.

Ayman Garas, brother of the slain woman, told reporters she was "a very peaceful person."

"She's got nothing against anybody," Garas said. "I have no answers."

2005-01-15     00:43:56 GMT
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Four family members slain in their Jersey City home

JERSEY CITY, N.J. Four family members were found slain in their home Friday morning. All were bound and gagged, and their throats were slashed, First Assistant Hudson County Prosecutor Gaetano T. Gregory said.

Jersey City police broke down the door to the home about 4 a.m. after concerned relatives said they had not heard from the family for several days, authorities said.

The victims were Hossam Armanious, 46; his wife, Amal Garas, 36; and their daughters, Sylvia Armanious, 16, and Monica Armanious, 8.

No arrests had been made as of Friday afternoon.

Investigators spent the morning at the family's house near the Hudson County Courthouse, donning white boots when entering the green, two-story wood frame home. The porch was bedecked with Christmas decorations including tinsel lights, red bows and garland wrapped around the handrail.

Hossam Armanious bought the house in November 2000 for $96,500, records show.

Ayman Garas, brother of the slain woman, told reporters his sister was "a very peaceful person."

"She's got nothing against anybody," Garas said. "I have no answers."

The younger girl attended P.S. 6, around the corner from the home, while her sister went to Dickenson High School. School authorities had no immediate comment.

"I feel very, very bad," said Mohammed Riaz Khan, who lives across the street from the victims. "They were a nice family."

"They were good people," added Betty Garro, who works as a housekeeper next door.

WNBC-TV in New York reported authorities were investigating whether a former tenant, who had had a dispute with the family, was involved.
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FAMILY OF 4 SLAUGHTERED
New York Post ^ | 1/15/2004 | Lorena Mongelli
 

Posted on 01/15/2005 4:27:27 PM PST by 4.1O dana super trac pak
 

A family of Christians who fled persecution in Egypt ran into a bloody nightmare in Jersey City - where the husband, wife and their two daughters were found knifed to death in their home yesterday.

The bodies of Hossam Armanious, 46, his wife, Amal Garas, and their two youg daughters - Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8 - were found gagged with their throats slit at 4 a.m. yesterday inside the green, two-story, wood-frame home they moved into five years ago.

Investigators were struggling to figure out who could have slaughtered the religiously devout family.

Jersey City Police Chief Robert Troy Said police are leaning toward the suspects being at least an aquaintance, after finding no sign of break-in.

"I don't believe it was random," he said. "They probably knew their killers."

'snip'

Rafique Iscandar, 51, who described himself as Armanious' best friend, said his pal also came (to America) because of the pressure of being Christian in the Muslim Egypt.

"They were afraid there," Iscandar said. "They are under siege by the government. We lived in fear."

who else can do that?
 

(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: COPTIC; JERSEYCITY
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Four Family Members Slain In Jersey City
  • Bodies Found Bound And Gagged

Jan 14, 2005 5:05 pm US/Eastern
JERSEY CITY (CBS) There has been tragedy in New Jersey where four family members were found dead in their home. Now police are working on the murder mystery.

Jersey City police officials say at 4:00 a.m. they forced their way into the Oakland Avenue home only to discover the bodies of four relatives. Hudson county prosecutors say Hossam Armanious, age 46, his wife Amal, age 36, and their two daughters Sylvia and Monica, ages 8 and 16, were all found bound and gagged with their throats slashed.

A source close to the investigation tells CBS 2 a possible motive for the murders may be tied to a dispute between the family and a former tenant.

"I don't know why she got killed, she has nothing against anyone," said Ayman Garas, the victim's brother.

Relatives say the family moved to America ten years ago from their native Egypt.

The investigation is being handled by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office and on Friday evening, the crime scene was still very active. No arrests have been made in this case.
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Family of four found slain inside their New Jersey home

By JEFFREY GOLD
Associated Press Writer

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) -- A couple and their daughters -- their bodies bound and gagged and their throats slashed -- were found slain inside their modest two-story home early Friday. Grieving relatives described the four victims as a religious family with "no enemies.''

Police broke down the front door of the family's house after relatives said they had not heard from them for several days. There were no immediate arrests.

WNBC-TV in New York reported authorities were investigating whether a former tenant who had had a dispute with the family was involved.

The victims were identified as Hossam Armanious, 46; his wife, Amal Garas, 36; and their daughters, Sylvia Armanious, 16, and Monica Armanious, 8.

On Friday night, about 50 mourners gathered at an annex of St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church, a Christian congregation attended by the family and other Egyptians.

Emad Fahmy, 29, a cousin of the slain woman, described the victims as a "small, happy family -- a religious family. They have no enemies.''

Fahmy said Amal Garas was a letter carrier and her husband was a banquet server. The older girl -- set to have a Sweet 16 party Saturday night -- was active in the school drama department; Monica sang in the church choir.

Ayman Garas, brother of the slain woman, told reporters she was "a very peaceful person.''

"She's got nothing against anybody,'' Garas said. "I have no answers.''

AP-ES-01-14-05 1939EST
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01/15/2005 05:11:17

HOSSAM ARMANIOUS (46); AMAL GARAS (36); and their daughters SYLVIA ARMANIOUS (16); MONICA ARMANIOUS (8) - family memebers found bound and gagged with their throats slashed 01/14/05
JERSEY CITY, New Jersey
N.J. family in mystery massacre--(New York Daily News)--Four members of a Jersey City family, including an 8-year-old girl, were found murdered yesterday with their throats slashed in a crime that is baffling police.
Family of four slaughtered--(The New York Post)--A family of Christians who fled persecution in Egypt ran into a bloody nightmare in Jersey City, where the husband, wife and their two daughters were found knifed to death in their home yesterday, authorities said.
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Family Members Found Dead

Four family members were found slain in their home Friday morning. All were bound and gagged, and their throats were slashed, First Assistant Hudson County Prosecutor Gaetano T. Gregory said.

Jersey City police broke down the door to the home about 4 a.m. after concerned relatives said they had not heard from the family for several days, authorities said.

The victims were Hossam Armanious, 46; his wife, Amal Garas, 36; and their daughters, Sylvia Armanious, 16, and Monica Armanious, 8.

No arrests had been made as of Friday afternoon.

Investigators spent the morning at the family's house near the Hudson County Courthouse, donning white boots when entering the green, two-story wood frame home. The porch was bedecked with Christmas decorations including tinsel lights, red bows and garland wrapped around the handrail.

Hossam Armanious bought the house in November 2000 for $96,500, records show.

Ayman Garas, brother of the slain woman, told reporters his sister was "a very peaceful person."

"She's got nothing against anybody," Garas said. "I have no answers."

The younger girl attended P.S. 6, around the corner from the home, while her sister went to Dickenson High School. School authorities had no immediate comment.

"I feel very, very bad," said Mohammed Riaz Khan, who lives across the street from the victims. "They were a nice family."

"They were good people," added Betty Garro, who works as a housekeeper next door.

WNBC-TV in New York reported authorities were investigating whether a former tenant, who had had a dispute with the family, was involved.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2005
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Parents and 2 Daughters Found Slain at Home in Jersey City

By JOHN HOLL

Published: January 15, 2005
 

JERSEY CITY, Jan. 14 - It had been more than two days since the Armanious family of Oakland Avenue had been seen or heard from. So early on Friday, Jersey City police officers, acting on a request from relatives, broke down the door to their house and made a gruesome discovery: someone had slit the throats of the couple and their two children, leaving the bodies bound and gagged throughout the two-story house.

The Hudson County prosecutor's office identified those killed as Hossam Armanious, 46; his wife, Amal Garas, 36; and their daughters, Sylvia, 16, and Monica, 8.

An officer said that investigators were looking into the possibility that there had been a dispute between the family and a former tenant. The authorities said that there was no sign of a forced entry and that it was likely that the Armanious family knew their killer or killers.

Prosecutors refused to comment on a motive or possible suspects, saying the investigation was continuing.

"We have four people that are dead, and whoever did this is subject to very severe punishment. And we hope they are captured and believe they will be," Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy said.

Ms. Garas's brother, Ayman Garas, said he contacted the Jersey City Police Department early Friday after he had not heard from his sister in several days. He said he went to the two-story olive green wood-frame home around midnight, and when no one answered and he was unable to make his way through a front porch window because of security bars, he contacted officers. They broke down the door around 4 a.m.

"I didn't expect they would be killed," Mr. Garas said. "My sister, to get killed, my sister and everyone, I just can't believe it."

Officials believe the family was killed on Tuesday night since neither Mr. Armanious, who worked in Princeton, nor his wife, who worked for the United States Postal Service in Kearney, showed up for work on Wednesday or Thursday.

"She was very kind person," Mr. Garas said of his sister. "From her church to her home to her job, that's all she knows. I just can't believe it happened to her. She had no problem with nobody."

On Friday afternoon, as investigators took photographs of the house still decorated for Christmas with lights, red bows and garlands, several of Sylvia's classmates gathered outside in the rain and spoke of their friend. They recalled Sylvia, a 10th grader, as a dedicated student who was involved in many extracurricular activities at Dickinson High School and was always eager to speak her mind.

"She was a person who was really going to do something with her life," said a friend who asked not to be identified.

Jersey City school officials said that grief counselors were on hand at the high school and at J. W. Wakeman School No. 6, where Monica was a third grader.

Richard V. Messano, Wakeman's principal, described Monica as a "bubbly and always happy girl" who had a perfect attendance record, was part of the gifted and talented program and was "a joy to have in class."

Other school officials echoed his comments.

"They were both fantastic students," said Dr. Sharon Bartley, a spokeswoman for the Jersey City Public Schools. "They were bright and outgoing, interested in performing arts, and this is just an awful event that has all of our students, parents and faculty so sad and upset. It is a true loss for the schools."

The family, devout members of the Coptic Orthodox Church, had celebrated Little Christmas, or the Feast of the Three Kings, last Friday and was planning to celebrate Sylvia's 16th birthday on Saturday.

The family had immigrated from Egypt about 10 years ago in hopes of building a better life, said Fred Ayad, a deacon at St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church, where the Armanious family worshiped regularly.

"They attended church every Sunday," he said. "They were all very nice, very quiet, very good. This is so awful."


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www.amcoptic.com
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