More than two decades after the body of a 17-year-old female high school student was found, a cold case of justice has finally been served.
On a cold January night over 20 years ago, Nancy Noga left her part-time job at the Rag Shop store on Route 9 in Old Bridge to make the short walk to the Skytop Gardens apartment complex off Ernston Road where she lived with her father and stepmother.
The 17-year-old senior at Sayreville War Memorial High School never made it home.
Her lifeless, frozen body was found days later by a man walking his dog in a wooded area behind the Mini Mall at 499 Ernston Road.
Her disappearance and death stunned the blue-collar community and resonated among some residents long afterward.
“She was here one day and gone the next,” said Mary Jo Truchan, who attended high school with Noga. “I just remember the pure panic in the atmosphere, especially with the girls. The girls were so terrified. No one was walking home at night by themselves. There was a buddy system, people were scared.”
“We weren’t close friends, we didn’t run in the same circle but we rode the same bus together so sometimes we would sit together,” said Truchan, who is now a Freehold resident who works as an administrative assistant for an insurance adjuster firm.
Truchan was responsible for launching a Facebook page A cold night in January: What Happened to Nancy in which she has asked others to share their stories and memories of Noga.
A New Jersey man has been charged with murder in connection to the cold case killing of 1999 murder of Nancy Noga, 17, of Sayreville, authorities said.
Bruce A. Cymanski, 49, was arrested near his home in Barnegat on August 31, 2021, after a short foot chase, according to a joint statement from the Sayreville Police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
On January 7, 1999, Noga, who was then a senior in high school, was reported missing after she did not return home from work. Five days later, on January 12, 1999, at approximately 8:57 A.M., Noga’s body was discovered in a wooded area behind what was then Mini-Mall Plaza Shopping Center on Ernston Road.
An autopsy later determined Noga died from blunt force trauma after being struck with a blunt object. For more than two decades, the case remained open and active as investigators continued to investigate Noga’s death.
Cymanski was indicted for first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree aggravated sexual assault, first-degree kidnapping, and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in connection with the killing of Nancy Noga.
Assistant Prosecutor Scott Lamountain, who serves as the section chief of the Major Crimes Unit, presented the case to the Grand Jury.
Following the return of the indictment by a Middlesex County Grand Jury, Cymanski was arrested near his home by members of the Sayreville Police Department, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Barnegat Police Department after a brief foot pursuit.
Cymanski is now lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is detained pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.
The arrest was made possible by a joint investigation conducted by Detective Mark Morris and Sergeant Deon McCall, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with Sergeant Daniel Ellmyer of the Sayreville Police Department and retired Detective Sergeant Richard Sloan, formerly of the Sayreville Police Department.
Cymanski was in-part identified through the use of genetic genealogy conducted by the Chief Genetic Genealogist of Parabon NanoLabs, CeCe Moore.
“In the decades since Nancy Noga’s death, law enforcement has relentlessly pursued justice on her behalf. The advancement of modern scientific tools has allowed that endeavor to enter a new chapter,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone.
“This arrest is the result of decades of hard work by so many detectives and officers. We never stopped following up on leads, and today with the arrest of Bruce Cymanski, we are one step closer to bringing a degree of justice and closure to the family. I want to thank Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and her office for their tireless efforts and partnership in bringing justice to the family of this young girl,” said Chief John Zebrowski of the Sayreville Police Department.
This investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Morris at (732)745-3702 or Sergeant Ellmyer at (732)525-5406.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Cymanski are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.