Middlesex County News

Dunellen Death Under Investigation


DUNELLEN, NJ - Authorities are investigating the death of a 52-year-old woman, whose body was burned in a fire in a field located near the NJ Transit railway and South Second Street in the borough according to an announcement made Tuesday by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief Jeffrey Nelson of the Dunellen Police Department.

The victim was discovered as the brief fire was extinguished by Dunellen firefighters.

Carol Ann N. Fratesi was identified as the victim whose remains were recovered from the fire, which was reported at 8:35 p.m. on March 23.

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While the death appears to be suspicious, the cause has yet to be determined. The results of an autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office were not immediately available.

During the investigation, an individual identified as Stephen Barry, 54, was arrested and charged in an unrelated case with burglary, possession of a burglary tool and terroristic threats for threatening police officers.

The officers were investigating the death when they were threatened by Barry, who is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick in lieu of $100,000 bail. Barry has not been charged in connection with the death of Ms. Fratesi.

The death is being investigated by Sgt. Jeff Delbuono of the Dunellen Police Department and Detective Wayne Canastra of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation began when railroad workers on the Raritan Valley Line saw the field fire and contacted NJ Transit Police, who notified Dunellen Police.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Delbuono of the Dunellen Police Department at 732-968- 3000, or Detective Canastra of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-3809.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Barry are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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