‘A Perfect Couple’

Robert Vanaman and his wife Barbara allegedly were in a domestic dispute on Thurs. evening around 4:53 pm. Allegedly Barbara stabbed Robert and then Robert shot Barbara. She was later pronounced dead at the local hospital.

Police are not releasing a motive, and I haven’t seen anything on Roberts condition other than he was admitted to the hospital. The investigation is continuing.

The couple have two children ages 3 and 13, and were reportedly not at home at the time of the shooting.

Neighbors have said the couple were in a domestic dispute prior to the shooting. They have also stated that the Vanaman’s were a “perfect couple” and they were “very social”.

Robert Vanaman is a sargent in the local police department and is a 15 year veteran.



It is still early in the investigation on this one. It is likely that more information will come out on it tomorrow.

Never the less, there are two children who will have to be told of the death of their mother, and told of their father’s injury. Regardless of the motives and the actual details of the shooting, these are going to be two very confused and conflicted children. At 13, the oldest would be very aware of what death means. And that is an age that where conflict can be the norm for the child, but this may make things worse. And at this age, there will be no shielding of the details, as he/she is old enough to read the paper, and understand what is on TV. At 3, the youngest likely won’t have much concept about death. The main thing he/she will soon learn is that dead means gone. At this age, even the memories of the mother will likely fade and that will present it’s own problems as a child too young to remember a  mother’s influence in his/her life.

This is also the type of situation that will set a whole community on edge. A couple who were very social and one a police officer, then suddenly one dead in a domestic dispute and the other hospitalized.


Vanderman remains in the hospital in stable condition. It has been reported that he suffered several stab wounds. Investigators have not been able to talk with him as yet. The Millville police dept has been excluded from the investigation, as Vanderman was employed by that department. No charges have been filed as yet, but due to the fact that there were no witness’s to what happened in the home, it is being investigated as a homicide.

Prosecutors have declined to respond to the question if there were any known domestic violence in the past, but neighbors have said that the couple did have a history of domestic problems. It is unknown who called 911.



Probe into the death of Barbara Vanaman and the injury of Robert Vanaman is continuing. Police have stated they have found forensic evidence, but they have been unable to interview Robert as he remains hospitalized and he has retained the services of an attorney.

Police are trying to determine if the wounds suffered by Vanaman were defensive wounds. Police are not commenting on whether or not there is a history of domestic violence in the home.



“I am perplexed when I consider what I’ve seen (in the lab reports) compared with what (Vanaman’s) lawyer has said happened that evening,” Those are the words of the prosecuting attorney in the Vanaman case. Prosecutors say they have been unable to interview Vanaman but would like to. And the defense attorney confirms that Vanaman is not talking on his instructions. Vanaman has been on leave from his police officer job since the shooting. Police are waiting on all the forensic testing to be completed, then the case could be sent to a Grand Jury.



Thanks to Cloud Writer we have an update on the case.

Robert Vanaman has been charged in the murder, and received additional charges of hindering an investigation by suppressing, concealing, destroying and tampering with evidence; tampering or fabricating physical evidence and giving a fictitious report to law enforcement.

pressofantlanticcity.com                                               app.com

Cloud Writer has also blogged on the case and you can find her update here.



  1. Tom said,

    May 17, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    As a former P.I. I know that the truth died with Mrs. Vannaman.
    The whole story may never be known.
    I work out at the health club where Barbara was an instructor and I am very shaken by this account.
    As a father and retired police officer I am very concerned about the children.
    My daughter is very upset as she goes to school with the older child…….I have no good answers for her..I wish I did.

  2. May 17, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    What happens in one family’s home can reach out and touch the community in so many ways. I wish you luck in finding the words to talk with your daughter. I know that isn’t going to be easy. As a parent you know her best. Let her talk about it, encourage her to express her thoughts and fears.. We all hope that the world won’t touch our children at this young age, but unfortunately it often does. Let her know that not all people are like this. But that yes this is something that sometimes happens. And most of all, let her know how much you love her.
    It is going to be very difficult for both the Vanaman children. It is a very tragic situation all around.

  3. Cloud said,

    September 29, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    Every morning I check for news.
    Every morning nothing.

    [NJ] Barbara Vanaman shot & killed by police officer husband

  4. chris biggs said,

    October 9, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    I believe in my heart that Robert intended to kill his wife or he would have NOT shot her to cause fatal wounds. He has 15 years on the force, I’m sure he knows how and where to fatally shoot someone or NOT. That is why I do not believe this is self defense at all, if that was the case he could have shot her in the leg. There are many other ways to stop someone without the use of a gun, especially if it is someone you supposedly love and care about. I DON’T BUY HIS STORY FOR ONE MINUTE. He should not be allowed back on the force and he should do his time like all other criminals who break the law, he is NOT above the law.

  5. Cloud Writer said,

    November 23, 2006 at 3:00 am

    Finally, he’s been charged!

    …Millville police officer Robert Vanaman pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder during his arraignment in Cumberland County Superior Court this morning. His cash bail remains $750,000. The police sergeant has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of his upcoming trial. He is also charged with hindering an investigation; suppressing, concealing, destroying or tampering with evidence of a crime; tampering or fabricating physical evidence; and filing a fictitious report with law enforcement in connection with the May 11 shooting death of his wife, Barbara Vanaman…. “We feel confident after a review of the evidence collected we can overcome the burden of disproving self-defense,” Casella said. “We don’t believe it was self-defense.”… on stab wounds Robert Vanaman suffered in the incident, which O’Neill said were inflicted by Barbara Vanaman during the altercation. “We believe we can disprove (Barbara Vanaman) inflicted the injuries to him,” Casella stated…

  6. November 23, 2006 at 3:38 am

    Thanks, Cloudwriter. I actually felt this one would eventually be charged.

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