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Pascack Valley Daily Voice serves Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood & Woodcliff Lake

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DV Pilot police & fire

EXCLUSIVE: Police search for remains of missing mom

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

WE SCOOPED IT, THE ‘OTHER GUYS’ FOLLOWED : The search for an Emerson mom who went missing more than two years ago took on renewed hope when a tipster led detectives to the back of the town’s American Legion Hall, where they quietly did some digging a few days ago, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.


A law enforcement source said they didn’t find anything of value but confirmed that the probe of Liza Murphy’s sudden disappearance in August 2007 is far from a cold case.
Police ask that anyone with any potentionally helpful information in the case call: (201) 262-2809

Murphy went missing just days before her husband deliberately walked out in front of a fire official’s cruiser in a suicide attempt in nearby Westwood.


Liza Murphy

Police earlier had questioned Joseph Murphy about his wife’s disappearance, which was reported by one of her friends. He told them she took off after he confronted her about an affair, leaving behind her purse, cellphone, keys, cigarettes — and their three children.

Nor did she bring medication she was taking for fibromyalgia, a sometimes debilitating muscle and tissue condition, authorities said.

Police in Emerson gathered about 200 people and searched the woods around the Oradell Reservoir after the 42-year-old Murphy was officially declared missing in late August 2007.

They didn’t find anything.

The case turned bizarre when Joseph Murphy walked into traffic, trying to kill himself. The Irish immigrant suffered a broken hip but has since recovered. He has refused to speak with investigators since.

The family was troubled, with DYFS involvement and court appearances, as well as having to deal with bouts of depression and violent incidents involving members of Liza’s family, who lived across the street.

Neighbors said the former Liza Stellatos often fought openly with her brother, while others said his wife’s disappearance led her husband to such despair that the self-employed painter tried to kill himself.

A car and a bus swerved to avoid him before he was struck on a main street in nearby Westwood.

A recovering alcoholic, Murphy had tried to kill himself once before, in 1990.

To this point, the case remains officially classified as a missing person.

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