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Former Inmate Held in NJ Coptic Slaying

Former Inmate Held in NJ Coptic Slaying

Douglas J. Hagmann

4 March 2005: An ex-con and former upstairs neighbor is being detained and questioned about the brutal murder of the Armanious family of four - the Coptic Christan family who were outspoken on their religious beliefs and who raised the ire of radical Islamic fundamentalists on the Internet chatroom PalTalk. Edward McDonald, 25, was picked up by detectives as a result of a review of surveillance video of various automatic teller machines in New Jersey and Manhattan. The ATM card belonged to Hossam Armanious.

Authorities have also seized a car that was shown on an ATM surveillance tapes. The bodies of the 47-year-old Armanious, his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their daughters, Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8, were found inside their home on January 14, 2005. Investigators believe the Coptic Christian family was killed the night of January 11th. Each victim had been bound, gagged and viciously stabbed in the throat; the younger family member also suffered a stab wound on her wrist, over an iconic cross.

The Northeast Intelligence Network has received information that the suspect being questioned in this matter, Edward G. McDonald, was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute at Fort Dix (released 30 April 2004) for cocaine distribution. He was also incarcerated in Hudson County, NJ for distributing drugs on school property. Prison sources have provided information to the Northeast intelligence Network about McDonald and more importantly, his associates while in prison. According to sources speaking to the Northeast Intelligence Network on the condition of anonymity, McDonald is not believed to be the only person involved in this slaying - and might not have committed the murders himself.

While incarcerated in the federal system, he reportedly associated with a group of inmates who were actively involved in Islamic counseling - receiving radical fundamentalist Islamic literature during his incarceration. The prison source told Northeast Intelligence Network director Douglas Hagmann that there is indeed a religious component to the murders, although McDonald is not alone. Investigators from this agency are continuing the investigation to determine the veracity of those claims.


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