Crocodile Tears - The Murder of Jody Galante

25.05.2011

tags: Murder, Homicide, NSW, NSW Police Force,

discussion: 0 comments

By Former Detective Senior Constable Matt Grant
APJ Issue - March 2011: pp.24 - 35. 

Many will remember the media conference in early 2006, where Mark Galante pleaded emotionally (with an abundance of crocodile tears)  for the public to help find his “Angel”, that is, his wife Jody, who had allegedly gone missing from the Parklea Markets and had not been seen for several days. Occasionally, investigators get involved in high-profile investigations, but it is very rare for all your family and friends to have the case solved within minutes of it hitting the media. But, of course, most cases that gain a public profile will have the community drawing its own conclusions based purely on what is said and seen before the camera; quite often they are well off the mark though  - but not this time.

Mark Galante met Jodi Pomery, a good natured and pretty girl born in the NSW country town of Tumut, through a mutual friend. Their first foray into a relationship only lasted a short time after Jody decided that Mark Galante was too quiet for her. Later, telling her mother that he was “more like a friend than a boyfriend”. Not long after their relationship ended, she joined and then was discharged from the Australian Defence Force Reserves. During this period she was involved in a number of short relationships, falling pregnant to one of her boyfriends and tragically losing the child to a miscarriage.

In 1999, she met up again with Mark Galante after he tracked her down. He told her that after they broke up, he had never stopped thinking about her. The following year the couple moved in together, and in 2001 he proposed marriage. Jody fell pregnant four months before their wedding, which took place in September 2002. Around the time Jody fell pregnant, the couple finalised the purchase of their first home at 13 Solitaire CourtStanhope Gardens, which was purchased from Galante’s parents for $185,000, which was $70,000 under market value. In September 2002, they married, and appeared to be an extremely happy couple”, at the reception centre at Nurragingy Reserve, in Doonside, Western Sydney.

After the wedding, the couple had a short honeymoon which was paid for by a relative as a wedding present. This relative apparently offered them a longer honeymoon overseas, but Mark declined, claiming he couldn’t afford the time off work. In 2003, Jody gave birth to the couple’s first child, Zayla, and they quickly settled into married life.

Jody Galante Reported Missing

About four o’clock on Saturday 7 January 2006, four years after they were married, 26-year-old Mark Galante called Quakers Hill Police Station to report that his wife had gone missing. The local police told him to call back in a couple of hours if she had not returned home and they would generate a Missing Persons Report. But he didn’t call back until midday the next day, telling Quakers Hill Police that his wife was still missing and that he had real concerns for her welfare. This time police went to Galante’s home where they took a Missing Persons Report from him. During this time he told them that around 10.00am the day before, he had dropped her off at the Parklea Markets so she could go shopping. He told police that they had arranged for Jody to call his mobile when she wanted to be picked up, which he expected would be between midday and 1.00pm.

He told police that after he had dropped Jody off, he took their two-year-old daughter, Zayla, to a nearby park where they fed ducks. They then went to Hungry Jacks at Parklea for lunch and then to Bakers Delight at Stanhope Village Shopping Centre. He pointed out to police that there was CCTV footage at both of these businesses, which he suggested would verify his whereabouts. Police subsequently obtained the CCTV and confirmed his claims.

He told police that some time after 1.00pm he became concerned that she had not called. He tried to call her mobile a number of times, but each call went unanswered. He told police that he took their daughter home, and waited for her to call. During this time he continued to call her mobile, but she didn’t answer. He said he had called his mother, Angela Galante, telling her that he had concerns for Jody, giving her the same version of events. He also told police that he became restless at home and drove to Parklea Markets where he walked around looking for her. He claimed he had her paged twice over the PA system, but she could not be found. He went on to tell police that Jody was a very caring mother and that she was extremely close to her daughter Zayla. She was also three months pregnant and it was totally out of character for her to go missing.

Quakers Hill Police subsequently went through the usual practices of speaking to Jody’s friends and family and looking at her work commitments and future appointments. It became apparent to police that nobody had seen or heard from Jody since she was last seen by Galante.

In a decision that would positively affect the outcome of this investigation, a Quakers Hill Detective; Senior Constable Adam Child, was assigned to the investigation at an early stage. Detective Child hit the ground running, and by Monday afternoon had already spoken to a number of sources and discovered that Galante was a heavy cannabis user and seemed to be going through a personality change. This was evidenced in part by an increase in his aggression towards Jody; although there were no suggestions of any physical assault. Detective Child also learned that Galante was essentially unemployed, and spent most of his time on the internet. The computer was in the bedroom, and when he was on the internet he wouldn’t allow Jody into the bedroom. On occasions, Galante would spend the entire night on the internet, forcing Jody to sleep on the lounge. On one occasion, this caused a pinched nerve in her neck.

Detective Child also discovered that about six weeks prior to her disappearance,  Jody began to stand up for herself, demanding that he stop using cannabis before she had their second child. This information was corroborated by a number of sources, with one person telling them that they had witnessed a huge verbal fight over his refusal to give up cannabis. Another source told police that whilst there was a chance Jody would leave Mark, there was no chance she would ever have left Zayla behind. Police had also found out that Galante was not happy about Jody’s pregnancy.

Fortunately, Detective Child felt that something was not right, and, based on gut instinct, and a profile that indicated there was little chance that she had simply ran away, he called in the Homicide Squad ...

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