10 Years Later Karen Gruber’s Murder Is Still UnsolvedApr 18th, 2011 | By Jay Long | Category: Lead Article
On April 18, 2001 the City of Newburgh was shaken by a brutal murder that took place in one of it’s centerpieces. Delano-Hitch stadium and recreation park has been the host of countless smiles, family get togethers and sporting events. On that chilly Spring morning it was the scene of one of the most brutal crimes the city had ever seen. It took days for medical examiners to identify the victim. When they did, dental records revealed that 35 year old Karen Gruber had been beaten and set on fire, left to die just 25 yards from busy Rt. 9W. Her body was unrecognizable as was the baby boy she was carrying. Karen was killed 10 years ago today, her murder is still unsolved and whoever is responsible for her death is still out there.
According to reports, the City of Newburgh Fire Department were called to a brush fire at the park. When the flames finally were extinguished their initial reaction led them to believe the charred remains were that of a mannequin but further investigation revealed that it was indeed a body. The findings shocked residents and business owners of Newburgh and put an almost palpable black cloud of fear over the city streets. All leads became dead ends as the City of Newburgh police detectives followed countless tips and information received in regards to what may have happened that night. Family and friends of Karen waited patiently at first then grew frustrated with the system as every corner seemed to bring the slaying further and further away from being solved.
Ten years later, the case is still handled by the City of Newburgh police detectives. From time to time it is revisited with the Orange County District Attorney. Over the years several hundred leads have been chased and countless suspects have been interviewed,but they are no closer to making an arrest as they were during the weeks following the horrific murder. The facts have been entered in to a nationwide database of unsolved crimes in hopes that a flag will be raised should a crime of the same nature occur.
Many of us don’t always pay attention to those we pass or see on the street. I’m sure that’s how it was with Karen, not her personally but anyone in general. This was different. How could her screams go unheard? How could anyone ignore a bright fire just feet from one of the busiest roads Newburgh knows even during early morning hours? How could no one have seen who she was with just prior to her death? These are questions that have been asked and left unanswered for ten years. A family still sits hopeful that one day justice will be served.
Since that tragic morning, Karen’s mother has passed away. She never knew who killed her daughter and unborn grandson. She lived with that anguish each and every day. It’s important to remember that on that spring morning a woman was killed. Beaten. Set on fire. Left to die alone. She was a daughter, a sister and a mother not just a face without a name. Her name is Karen Gruber. Her life was taken from her and those that loved her long before her time and those responsible are still out there.
If anyone has information regarding that morning, it’s never too late to share what you know. Please contact City of Newburgh Police Detectives at 845-569-7509. All calls and information will be kept confidential.