Skip to main content

Human Remains Found in Wayne Believed To Be Missing Woman


By: Richard L. Smith 

During the afternoon of Monday, July 17, 2023, Wayne Township Police Officer Joseph Albanese was dispatched to the area of Farmingdale Road on a report of an abandoned motor vehicle.

According to the concerned resident, the vehicle had been at the location for several days and had not moved.

Officer Albanese conducted an on-scene investigation and contacted the jurisdiction where the vehicle was registered in an attempt to contact the registered owner, Maria Ferrigno, 63. 

The investigation ultimately led to a family member of the registered owner. Information obtained from this family member led P.O. Albanese to be concerned for the welfare of Ms. Ferrigno.

The Wayne Police Department Investigative Division was contacted to begin an investigation into the abandoned vehicle and the whereabouts of Ms. Ferrigno.

At this time, Wayne Police Officers met with the family and immediately entered her into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a High Risk Missing Person.

Ms. Ferrigno’s information and picture were transmitted to surrounding Law Enforcement agencies. The police agency, with jurisdiction of where Ms. Ferrigno resides, also conducted a search of her home and confirmed that she was not present.

Detective Tomasz Cydzik of Wayne PD was assigned to conduct an intensive follow-up investigation. Multiple Wayne police officers and detectives canvassed the area where Ms. Ferrigno’s vehicle was located.

They also spoke to local residents and attempted to obtain video surveillance footage. The area where the vehicle was located is adjacent to a large wooded area along the banks of the Pompton River.

Police Officers conducted a search of this area, but were hampered by the dense, wooded brush. Additionally, recent heavy rainfall and the opening of the Pompton Lake Dam, to relieve flooding upstream, created swamp-like conditions.

The investigation conducted by Det. Cydzik included searching multiple law enforcement databases, conducting interviews with potential witnesses, and speaking with family members and friends of Ms. Ferrigno in order to learn more about her pattern of life.

Detectives also conducted technical research of phone records, banking records, and further inquiries in an attempt to retrace her steps. On the following morning,

Tuesday, July 18, 2023, detectives recanvassed the area where Ms. Ferrigno’s vehicle was last located. A police K-9 was deployed in an attempt to track her path from the vehicle, but was unsuccessful. Det. Cydzik, and several members of Wayne PD, continued the investigation throughout the day and night by following up on potential leads.

The Wayne PD Patrol Division was also put on high-alert and tasked with employing extra patrol to help find Ms. Ferrigno.

At approximately 8:00 AM on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, Wayne Police Officer Trevor Costabile conducted a responsive and directed-patrol to the area.

He observed new indicators that drew him to a specific and heavily wooded area along the west side of Farmingdale Road.

Detective Lieutenant Vincent Ricciardelli and Detective Michael Polifrone then entered the dense woods in this particular area and eventually located human remains which, at this time, cannot be positively identified.

However, some ancillary descriptive factors may be consistent with that of Maria Ferrigno. Consistent with proper investigative protocol, a crime scene was established to preserve any evidence in the area.

The Passaic County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit responded to the scene along with the Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

The scene was thoroughly documented by these agencies and the remains were ultimately removed by the Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

An autopsy will be performed to positively identify the person and determine the cause of death.

There are no indications of foul play at this time.

The investigation into the disappearance of Ms. Maria Ferrigno is ongoing and will steadfastly continue until resolved. The secondary investigation into the recovery of human remains will continue as an ongoing and parallel investigation to the missing person incident and until it can be confirmed that these events are related.


“As Chief of Police, I would like to reinforce my steadfast and unwavering commitment to the family of Maria Ferrigno, as well as the residents of Wayne.

The Wayne Police Department is committed to you and your family during this very difficult and unsettling time. We will leave no stone unturned to accomplish our mission and to swiftly and compassionately bring you peace, justice, and closure”.

Anyone with information into the disappearance of Maria Ferrigno or the recent recovery of human remains on Farmingdale Rd. is asked to contact Wayne Police Detective Tomasz Cydzik at 973-633-3538 or by email at