Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announced the cause and manner of yesterday’s two deaths on Arden Road in the Township of Denville, as well as confirming the identities of the two individuals. As the result of post-mortem examinations conducted by Deputy Morris County Medical Examiner Carlos Fonseca, the individuals were positively identified as Joan Bramhall, and her husband, John Bramhall. In addition, the post-mortem examinations revealed that Joan Bramhall’s manner of death was listed as homicide caused by a gunshot wound inflicted upon her. John Bramhall’s manner of death was listed as a suicide caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On the morning of Thursday, August 7, Denville Police were dispatched to the Arden Road residence on the report of a family member reporting the discovery of a deceased person in the residence. Upon further examination by responding officers, a second deceased individual was also located in the residence. The ensuing investigation, conducted by the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Denville Police Department and the Criminal Investigations Section of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, did not reveal any evidence of outside intrusion into the residence. Prosecutor Knapp would thanked Police Chief Christopher Wagner and the Denville Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Section, the Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Morris County Department of Law and Public Safety, and members of the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office for their collective assistance in this matter. Bramhall was a former chairwoman of the Morris County Republican Committee from 1988-94. Between 1993 to 1998 she served as freeholder, working alongside Governor Chris Christie. She was also a part of Christie’s transition team in 2009. She became Morris County Clerk in 1999 and retired on December 31, 2013 and was replaced by Parsippany resident Ann Grossi. Senator Joe Pennacchio posted on Facebook, “Our condolences on Clerk Joan Bramhall’s passing. She was a tireless, dedicated public servant and a close friend. We will miss her greatly. RIP my dear friend.” In a statement released, Governor Christie called Joan Bramhall “an outstanding public servant but an even better person.” In a statement from the Morris County Republican Committee “we extend our deepest and sincere condolences to the family of our dear friend Joan Bramhall. This tragedy is incomprehensible. Joan served our community for many years in multiple roles. She has served as a Morris County Freeholder and County Clerk. She also served as the Chair of the Morris County Republican Committee. Joan supported many Presidential, Statewide and Morris County Campaigns during her tenure as Chairwoman. Joan continued to be active in the Republican Party throughout her elected career in County Government. We pray for both Joan and John. For whatever burdens they carried, the loss of these two friends left our community shocked and saddened. May the Lord our God hold them in the palm of his hands.”