MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The deaths of a man and a woman believed to be an au pair for the man’s family in what law enforcement is investigating as a double homicide rocked a suburban neighborhood Aug. 3 where residents say incidents like this don’t happen.
Maplewood Police responded to a 911 call around 6 a.m. on Saturday about a woman being assaulted in the area of Walton Road and Jefferson Avenue.
Neighbors said they heard screams that morning.
“There was a repetitive scream that sounded like someone saying no, no, no,” said Maplewood resident Andrew de la Torre.
de la Torre said the woman exited a house on Walton Road, crossed Jefferson Avenue, and ran toward a house on the corner of Woodland Road.
Police then found the woman, who is said to be a nanny for a family on Walton Road, lying in the street injured.
She was then transported to Beth Israel Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 7:17 a.m., according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II and Maplewood Police Chief Jim DeVaul.
A man was also found dead inside a home in the 400 block of Walton Road that same morning, Stephens and DeVaul said in a news release.
The identity of the victims is being withheld until the next of kin is notified about the deaths, said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly of the Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit. Autopsies are being conducted at the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Newark to determine the cause of death for both the man and the woman.
The incident stunned neighbors who said their neighborhood is mostly quiet. Walton and Woodland Roads and Jefferson Avenue are filled with single-family homes and well-maintained lawns in a residential part of town that’s a little less than a half mile away from the Maplewood Village center with shops and restaurants.
“It’s a quiet bedroom community so it’s shocking to see something like this,” said Maplewood resident Gary Matles, who has lived in town since 2006.
Neighbors described the neighborhood as busy that morning. They said at least six police cars were parked at the intersection where Walton and Woodland Roads and Jefferson Avenue all meet.
“The street entrance to Walton Road from Jefferson Avenue was blocked off,” said Maplewood resident Jack Fryer. “Police weren’t letting people walk by until they removed a body from the house. They had to make room for the ambulance.”
Police cars and news trucks remained on the scene into the late afternoon. Yellow crime scene tape cordoned off a dark gray home on Walton Road at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue.
Neighbors described the family who lived in the dark gray house as a husband and wife with two small children under the age of 5 with an au pair. They said the family moved into the neighborhood about two years ago and renovated the home. The man worked for and possibly owned a comedy club in New York City, according to the neighbors.
Neighbors said the family mostly kept to themselves but some of the neighbors said they occasionally made small talk with their now-slain neighbors.
“The man was a nice guy. We’d sometimes talk about gardening,” said de la Torre.
No arrests have been made, according to Fennelly.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Tips Line at 1-877-847-7432.
TAPinto SOMA Publisher Fred Smith contributed to this article.
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