"Death of [chemist] at treatment plant [in NJ] ruled a homicide"
PATERSON, N.J. - A woman whose body was found in a tank at a water treatment plant drowned and her death has been ruled a homicide, the Passaic County prosecutor said Monday.
Geetha Angara had been doing water quality tests Wednesday when she disappeared. A search found her body about 100 feet from where she was working, but her two-way radio and clipboard were found directly below the work area, which had a protective grate to prevent falls, Prosecutor James F. Avigliano said.
"That was where we think the woman was either pushed or shoved into this opening," Avigliano said...
An earlier report is here. She was a senior chemist and had a PhD from NYU, and her job was to calibrate the sensors dealing with water clarity. The grate in question was 3.5' x 4.5' and weighed fifty pounds. Investigators had previously considered the possibility that she could have accidently stepped onto a corner of the grate, and there were conflicting reports on the position of the grate when they decided to search the tank.
And, from this we learn, Angara was working on a 7-foot-wide corridor that runs between a cement wall lined with instruments and the water tank...
From Body of a Missing Chemist Is Found in a Water Tank we learn:
Around 10 a.m., she was last seen leaving her lab to calibrate some water testing equipment at one of the storage tanks, the Passaic County prosecutor, James Avigliano, said Wednesday. Her purse, cellphone and coat were discovered at the treatment plant, and a broken beaker was also found, he said...
There doesn't appear to be much information on her in google, just a couple references to conferences and such. Was this just a garden-variety homicide, or something else? Could she have spotted someone trying to put something into the water? Apparently there are no surveillance cameras in the area where she was.
UPDATE: The DUmmies weigh in.
UPDATE 2: Of course, there might be a more prosaic explanation:
... Inspectors with the State Department of Labor have cited the plant for 55 violations since 2000, department spokesman Robert Corrales said.
The violations include improper handrails on sludge tanks and stairways, stored materials blocking an aisle, improper covers over an electrical box and broken grates over a drain. Those grates were in a separate part of the complex from where Angara was found, records show.
All the violations have been fixed and none is outstanding, Corrales said.
Ernest Landante, a spokesman for the water commission, said the area in which Angara was found has been rebuilt since the violations were issued. He said the plant has an ongoing safety program that enlists a dozen consultants...
UPDATE 3: The NYT article wasn't clear on this point, but from an earlier WABC report:
Angara had gone into the rarely visited area of the plant yesterday morning to calibrate an instrument and to take a water sample. Our camera aren't allowed inside the plant but investigators tell us that shards of a broke beaker were found near the metal grate that is supposed to keep people from falling into 35 feet of icy water in the tank.