V.I. Police Department investigators have re-examined the Jeep belonging to James Malfetti III who was found dead in his apartment in a Boatman Point luxury home in January, but VIPD officials had nothing to report on their two month old investigation.
It was investigators’ second look at Malfetti’s vehicle, which had been taken from Malfetti’s residence sometime during the weekend before his body was discovered on Sunday morning, January 19, and had been abandoned near the south shore vacation home.
“They only did it because the FBI made them,” said one observer who knew Malfetti well. “It had already been cleaned after the police checked it the first time.”
The body of Malfetti. 41, a successful computer entrepreneur from New Jersey and watersports enthusiast who had lived on St. John for several years was found in his apartment in the guest house of a vacation rental home on the south shore of St. John.
Malfetti had died from multiple stab wounds to the neck, according to sources.
Family Critical of VIPD Investigation
Malfetti’s family have been criticial of the VIPD’s handling of the investigation since its earliest stages and hired the same private investigator who assisted the family of Jamie Cockayne, who died in 2007 after being stabbed in a street attack in Cruz Bay following a bar confrontation with several local men.
That private investigator and Malfetti’s family members have charged the VIPD with mishandling their investigation – including declaring the wrong date of his death.
St. John Deputy Police Chief Maria Jones confirmed Sunday afternoon, January 19, that police were investigating a suspicious death at an apartment on Boatman Road and// 911 Emergency Dispatch notified police of the case at 9:55 a.m. that morning.
The Malfetti family’s private investigator said Malfetti may have been killed after the attempted robbery of the owners of the main house at which his apartment was located in the days before his body was found, sources have told Tradewinds.
The owners of the residence had reported a burglary on Saturday morning, January 18, according to the record at the Leander Jurgen Command in Cruz Bay.
Police who responded to the burglary report did not check Malfetti’s apartment at that time because his vehicle was not at the apartment, according to Tradewinds sources.
Private Investigator Discounts Rumors
Another island rumor questioned whether Malfetti was killed in a case of mistaken identity because the prior tenant of the apartment, who had moved out in late 2013, was claiming he was the intended target of the attack.
The private investigator, who spent five days on St. John investigating Malfetti’s death in January, Todd Phoenix, has discounted the mistaken identity rumor and said there are “other persons of interest” in the case. The private investigator also said he has had limited official contact with VIPD investigators since then.
“Nothing new at this point,” Phoenix e-mailed Tradewinds. “Still not much (little to none!) communication from VIPD to the Malfettis as far as progress.”
“I would greatly appreciate it if you could ask anyone with any information to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org), VI Crimestoppers or VIPD,” Phoenix wrote. “Additionally, supporters of the Justice For Jimmy Facebook page recently had bumper stickers made and they are available at various locations on St. John.”
The VIPD has continued to have no comment on any portion of their “active investigation” into a case which has fueled numerous rumors on a small island and brought negative national publicity for the island.
One U.S. Senator from New Jersey has called for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to join the investigation although there is no indication the FBI has played any role in the investigation.
The VIPD reported one week after the discovery of Malfetti’s body that their investigation was continuing. This case was being investigated by the Major Crime Bureau and Intelligence Agents. Forensic technicians collected and are processing evidence.
“It’s an on-going investigation,” Rames said at that time. There have not been any subsequent reports on the investigation from the VIPD.
Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 (TIPS)
The top law enforcement officer of the Virgin Islands encouraged anyone with information on the circumstances that led to Malfetti’s death to call his office at 340-715-5506, Major Crimes at 340-642-8449, or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).