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'Confusing' Press Release In Deadly Double Stabbing Leaves Belleville Residents Fearful

Assailant Photo Credit: Belleville police

Many questions remain unanswered around a double stabbing that left one woman dead and another injured in Belleville.

Local police on Saturday released a photo of an individual in blue jeans, sneakers and a black hoodie, and released some details in the Nov. 20 incident. 

Authorities, however, did not say if the individual pictured was a person of interest -- leaving many residents fearful and desperate for answers.

A 54-year-old woman told police she was stabbed by the assailant after arriving at her Van Rensselaer Street home, where she said her mom may have still been inside, authorities said. There, they found an 84-year-old woman dead, police said.

Police said that there was no risk o the public and that information was withheld pending an investigation. Still, many Facebook users questioned why the incident took nearly a week to address.

"Can anyone clarify what is happening?" one person commented on the post.

"No one is saying whether the victims knew this person or if this was a random stranger who attacked them. By not clarifying, you aren’t protecting the case you are protecting the murderer. If this picture was released sooner I’m sure a lot more Belleville residents would’ve searched their cameras or ring doorbells to see if they have better photos or videos of this person."

"Is the person in the picture a person of interest? This post is very confusing and not comforting at all," another said. "As a resident living on Van Rensselear St. I feel fearful of leaving my house every day. I feel as if there could be more details given to the community without compromising the investigation, such as what is the description of the suspect."

"We also want to take this opportunity to explain the delay in releasing information," police said. 

"The Belleville Police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office have been working tirelessly to bring this case to a conclusion. Many times releasing information before it is confirmed can be detrimental to the case. If at anytime there was a risk to the community, information would have been disseminated via social media and or through our reverse 911 system. 

"The details that have been put out to the public are meant to inform but also to seek any information the public can provide in assisting in the investigation. There are several troubling social media posts with inaccurate information being spread specifically about the deceased victim. 

"These types of inaccurate posts only re-traumatized the family. Please refrain from further posting anything that may cause harm to this long time Belleville family."

The incident remains under investigation.

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