Josephine Nesi of Vineland, NJ was shocked to read her daughter’s name in the newspaper Thursday morning. “After all, Jeralyn Naomi Nesi died in 1947, at age 4, and she’s been buried in a Vineland cemetery ever since.”

Her headstone made headlines 61 years after her death and mysterious arrival on an Atlantic City street corner.

Months of searching had yielded no clues for Detectives, but their resent plea to the media has uncovered the deceased girl’s mother.

“They said it was in the street?” said the mother, who wouldn’t give a reporter her age, but remembered that Jeralyn was born July 4, 1943. “My Lord, what crazy person would do a thing like that?”

However, the police are still no closer to discovering who put the tombstone on an Atlantic City street corner on November 19, 2007, Sgt. Monica Menamin said.

Still more interesting is the fact that the girl’s tombstone was not without a marker all these years. It had been replaced in 1974 when another family member died. Her name was added to a family headstone at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Vineland.

“They think the monument-maker (who put in the new stone) took care of it,” McMenamin says, although that still doesn’t get police any closer to solving the mystery of why the original ended up on the street 33 years after it was moved off the grave.

Josephine Nesi is in disbelief of all the events happening so many years after her daughter’s death of typhoid fever made headlines in The Vineland News.

“I thought it was a dream,” she said in a phone interview. And although she wouldn’t talk about her age, she had no trouble explaining when a reporter suggested that she sounded pretty strong for a woman who was giving birth to children 65 years ago.

“What else can I do?” Josephine said calmly.

To add more flame to the fire is a woman named, Marianne Holz of Egg HarborTownship, claims she was the first to notice the tombstone and report it in November, not Atlantic City Sgt. Gene Maier.

Ms. Holz, who is an aide on buses run by Atlantic County Special Services School District, said she reported it to Police a week before it was picked up.

She says she called the Police, but not on the 911 Emergency line and reported the tombstone on the sidewalk near a day-care center near her bus stop. “When the stone was still there a few days later, she called back and asked for a desk sergeant and reported the strange find again, but it took a few more days until the stone finally disappeared,” she says.

“Still, McMenamin said there are no records of any citizens calling in the headstone on the corner. The report on the incident says Maier was out on patrol when he noticed it and called for help moving it – and the city’s Public Works Department had to be brought in when the stone was too heavy for a police tow truck to handle.”

“I don’t know what number she called, but that’s the way this case was logged,” McMenamin said.

“We still don’t know the disposition,” McMenamin said. “And we still don’t know how this tombstone got to be in Atlantic City in the first place.”

Tamika M. Murray

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