A year after the wife of an Irish man went missing, police are still trying to determine her whereabouts.
Liza Murphy, the wife of Co. Carlow native Joseph Murphy, went missing from her home on August 19, 2007. Murphy, then 43 and a mother of three children, disappeared from her home in Emerson, New Jersey with only the clothes on her back after an argument with her husband.
Since her disappearance last year, police have had no sightings of Murphy.
Suspecting their daughter is dead, Sophia Stellatos, Liza's mother, said last week, "My husband and I know that if she were still alive, which we don't believe she is, some way, somehow, she would have gotten in touch with us."
Murphy, a painter by trade, stepped in front of a car in what police suspected was a suicide attempt four days after his wife went missing.
Police reports indicate that Murphy first stepped out in front of a bus and a Lexus automobile, but both vehicles managed to swerve and avoid him. However, he made a third attempt and stepped in front of a fire official's cruiser, which hit him hard after trying to change direction.
Murphy was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with a broken pelvis, internal and facial injuries. The father of three wrote farewell letters to his sister, his wife Liza and his seven, 11, and 13-year-old children.
Murphy's lawyer, Joseph Rem said his client is innocent and that he only attempted suicide at the sadness of his wife's disappearance."He confronted her about her affair the night in question and she left the house," said Rem.
He added that Murphy also attempted suicide 17 years ago when the couple separated.
Rem was also quick to point out that Liza was on anti-depressants and had two misdemeanor changes against her from two neighbors, one of whom was her brother.
Police had been called to the Murphy home numerous times over the years for disturbances.
Murphy, who has never been declared a suspect in his wife's disappearance, has only given police one interview.
Liza's father Andrew Stellatos told The Record of Bergen County after his daughter's disappearance that the couple have always had problems.
"I don't know why they stayed together this long. I guess my daughter just tried to hang in there because of the kids," said Stellatos.
Murphy is looking after their children full time and according to Rem, is finding everything very difficult.
Rem told reporters last week that Murphy was still too emotionally devastated by the loss of his wife."I spoke with him a week ago, and he sobbed hysterically for 20 minutes," Rem said."He has his children with him, and he's had to play both father and mother."
Liza's case had been featured on "America's Most Wanted" and the "Nancy Grace" show on CNN.
According to police, Murphy confronted his wife with evidence that she was cheating on him prior to his disappearance.
Apparently they argued for about 15 minutes and then Liza left the house, leaving behind her cell phone, cigarettes and daily medications. Liza suffered from a chronic syndrome called Fibromyalgia.
It was Liza's friend who reported her missing after they discovered she had not come home the night before. Murphy later told police that his wife had a habit of not coming home so he didn't suspect she was missing.
Police organized a ground and air search for the missing mother. They used cadaver dogs and helicopters with heat-detecting cameras in their search of more than 275 acres of land and reservoir near the home of the Murphys.
After a week the search was called off.
Murphy, according to court documents, entered the U.S. from Ireland in 1983 as a legal resident.
Murphy, however, was not always known as Joseph Murphy. His birth name is Delahunty but he took on the name Murphy after arriving in the U.S.
In 2005 he filed for an official name-change from Delahunty to Murphy.
According to his petition, Murphy wasn't attempting to escape creditors or criminal prosecution by changing his name. He had no pending lawsuits, bankruptcy proceedings or criminal charges, as well as no record of conviction.
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