The possibility of a vendetta with roots in Egypt is among many possible
motives in the slaying of a Coptic Christian family of four in their Jersey
City home, officials said.
"Could it be a vendetta? Yes," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said
of the family, who moved to the United States from Luxor, Egypt, in 1997.
"Are we looking into that? Yes."
But DeFazio said city, county and federal investigators are looking into a
number of possible motives for the Jan. 11 killing of Hossam Armanious, 47,
his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their two daughters, Sylvia Armanious, 16,
and Monica Armanious, 9.
They were bound, gagged, and had bled to death from multiple stab wounds,
including wounds to their throats, before they were found two days later,
Although the family was robbed of cash during the killings, jewelry was not
taken and investigators say they do not know the primary motive for the
murders. The FBI and the federal office of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement are assisting in the investigation, DeFazio said.
"Based on what we found at the scene, we think there was more to it," he said.
Some family friends say they believe the deaths were related to a threat
Hossam Armanious received after making an anti-Islam comment in an Internet
chat room he administered on the PalTalk Web site.
But DeFazio said religious items in the victims' home were not desecrated,
there was no mutilation of the bodies, and that no religious message was
left at the scene.
"We have more work to do, including on the computer angle, the financial
profile and history of the family, including any information on the family
or associated people in Egypt. All of that is being done, but it's taking
Hossam Armanious worked as a banquet waiter at a Westin Hotel in Princeton,
Amal Garas worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Kearny as a mail handler,
Sylvia attended Dickinson High School and Monica went to School 6.
Yesterday, people continued to visit a shrine in front of the family's
Oakland Avenue home near St. Paul's Avenue, and an investigator again
visited the home, leaving with an armful of manila envelopes