FREEHOLD, NJ — A medical examiner has confirmed that the human remains found at 86 Wickapecko Drive in Ocean Township are those of Jacqueline Terrulli, who went missing on September 12, 2019, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
The human remains were discovered on June 18 during demolition of the property, where her home had been destroyed by fire on September 12, 2019. After notification to law enforcement, authorities obtained a search warrant and the remains were exhumed after being found wrapped in plastic and buried several feet in the ground near the immediate vicinity of the burned home.
As a result of the fire at the 6,000-square-foot residence, extensive charred rubble had collapsed upon and covered the burial site, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Terrulli's identity was ultimately identified by dental records. The cause and manner of the death of the 65-year-old woman remain pending at this time, the office said.
Meanwhile, Ronald Teschner, who lived at the same residence as Terrulli, has been charged with her murder and is currently being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold, awaiting trial.
Following the September 12 fire at the Wickapecko Drive residence, a joint investigation was launched by the Ocean Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office. Police quickly determined that Terrulli and Teschner were missing, along with Terrulli’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
In the early morning hours of September 13, Teschner was located in Paterson alone in Terrulli’s vehicle. The vehicle contained various items including clothing, shotguns, jewelry and lawn equipment all belonging to Terrulli, according to the prosecutor’s office
On February 24, a Monmouth County grand jury returned a 16-count indictment against Teschner for Terrulli’s murder.
Several searches of the home had been undertaken during an extensive investigation, including repeated searches with K-9 cadaver dogs. Terrulli’s body went undiscovered until June 18, likely due to the limited composition of the remains. K-9 dogs are trained to detect decomposition, the prosecutor’s office said.
If convicted of murder, Teschner faces the possibility of life in prison without parole.
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Joseph Cummings and Katherine Butler.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by federal and state law.
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