NJ Cold Case
Mary Ann Della Salla
Mary Ann Della Salla was 17 years old when she disappeared in 1967. She was living at 150 Hobart Street in Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey. She was a senior at Hackensack High school that worked part time after school at a grocery store to help with family finances. The ShopRite at 330 Essex Street in Hackensack to be exact. At the end of her shift, 9pm on January 24, 1967, she was reportedly offered a ride by a female co worker, but Mary Ann declined, because it was a nice night and she chose to walk home instead. Mary Ann left the store and headed home. She never got there.
The employee ended up taking another co worker to Woodridge, and on her way back, she said she did not see Mary Ann along her normal walking route, and assumed Mary had already arrived home. Mary Ann went missing wearing a heavy light blue sweater and a suede jacket with tight fitting tan slacks, blue shoes and a blue headband. She was wearing a shoulder strap handbag and was also wearing her boyfriend’s high school class ring.
Mary Ann’s parents reported her missing when she didn’t arrive home. They were worried because she was a good student and not the kind to stay out. She was missing for 80 days.
Monday, April 10, a factory worker was taking a lunchtime stroll along the banks of the Passaic River in Hawthorne, NJ behind a municipal sewage treatment plant. He spotted something floating in the river. It was the body of Mary Ann. She had been strangled. Police have concluded that she was killed elsewhere and then thrown into the river. The exact cause of death was not determined.
Mary Ann still had her pocketbook with her when she was found, it was somehow attached to her sweater. She had not been robbed.
There was apparently something “ritualistically sexual” about the appearance of the body, according to witnesses. However, there was no other sign of sexual activity.
Since Mary Ann was a ways away from her home, It is theorized Mary Ann came to the Paterson/Hawthorne area by bus. The last reported place she was seen alive was at the Hackensack bus terminal. Passaic County detectives questioned several bus drivers trying to find out if she had taken a bus to Paterson, but nothing was put out to the public stating whether or not any leads were found.
This is all the information I was able to find about this case, and her murder remains unsolved.
(The second source I have posted below is a long page trying to piece together the similarities between other murders in the area, but I posted it since it still mentions Mary Ann’s death and has a newspaper article about her.)
If you have any information about this crime, please contact the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office at 973-389-5900.