Home>Local>Ocean Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer closes 1991 cold case by identifying murderer who got away

Debbie Ann Bloomquist. (Photo: Ocean County Prosecutor).

Ocean Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer closes 1991 cold case by identifying murderer who got away

By David Wildstein, September 07 2022 4:59 pm

A 31-year-old murder investigation that began when State Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Toms River) was the Ocean County Prosecutor that quickly became a cold case has now been solved by the new prosecutor, Bradley Billhimer.

Debbie Ann Bloomquist was founded dead in a heavily wooded area of the Pine Barrens in the Greenwood Wildlife Management Area in Barnegat in October 1991.  She was 30 and had been sexually assaulted and stabbed to death, but within a month, law enforcement said they had no leads.

But by January 2022, Billhimer was able to develop a DNA profile of the murderer and reopened the investigation.  Working with the Attorney General’s Cold Case Task Force, Billhimer was able to “reach the conclusion” that John Pelletier had killed Bloomquist.

John Pelletier. (Photo: Sannes Feist Funeral Home).

Pelletier died in 2015 while living in Linton, North Dakota.  He grew up in Barnegat and lived in the area until 2005.,

“After more than three decades, this hideous crime has, at long last, been solved,” said Billhimer.  “Though Pelletier never faced justice for his actions in this life, we nevertheless hope this conclusive determination brings some level of peace and closure to the family of Debbie Ann Bloomquist.”

Court records show that Pelletier was charged by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office in 1999 with theft by deception – making a false statement to obtain a credit card.  He pled guilty and was placed on probation.

Bloomquist, who had grown up in Burlington County and was estranged from her family, had been living in motels in Monmouth for about two years.  She had last been seen in a bar in Asbury Park.

Holzapfel, now 77, left the prosecutor’s office in 1992.  He was elected to the State Assembly in 1994 and the State Senate in 2011.

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