By Rebecca Granet, 1010 WINS
HILLSDALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Rosemarie D’Alessandro is driven by passion, patience and perseverance. But the inspiration she found through the tears and the pain of an unimaginable horror is what consumes her days.
“My main inspirational person is Joan,” Rosemarie said. “I would not have been doing what I’m doing to this day if it wasn’t for her inspiration, and it’s like she’s telling me to do what I’m doing.”
Her daughter’s heart and soul are remembered each day in the work that she does, by the pictures that line the walls of her home, in her daughter’s tiny ballet slippers preserved on display just outside the kitchen, and by the white butterflies placed throughout the house. Rosemarie even keeps a rock from the place where Joan’s sexually molested and murdered body was found at Harriman State Park in New York.
As Rosemarie separates the blinds from inside the large front window of her Hillsdale, N.J. home and peers beyond its penetrable barrier, she can see the house of horrors. On April 19, 1973, her 7-year-old daughter, Joan Angela D’Alessandro, was playing on her front lawn when she saw her neighbor drive up to his home. Joseph McGowan lived across the street, three houses away on the quiet, calm, suburban road. With just two boxes of Girl Scout cookies left to deliver, Joan brought the Thin Mints over to his house.
She never came home.