UNION, NJ – The deaths of two women in Hillside are believed to be connected to a death in Union, said acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo on Wednesday.

As reported by TAPinto Union early Wednesday morning, the case began at about 2:30 Monday morning when Union police officers discovered a suspicious car parked in the lot behind Enterprise Rent-A-Car at 1755 Morris Avenue. Police found a man in the driver’s seat of a rental car, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.   The Union County Prosecutor’s Office has identified the man as 45-year-old Akanni A. Martin of Hillside.  A weapon was recovered near his body. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, investigators do not believe foul play was involved.

In working to notify Martin’s next of kin, detectives from Union visited Martin’s home on the 1500 block of Summit Ave. in Hillside. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, after further investigation, detectives determined two individuals close to Martin were missing.

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On Tuesday, April 6, Union detectives visited K & K Jamaican Restaurant on the 1500 block of Summit Ave in Hillside, a restaurant co-owned by Martin. The Prosecutor’s Office said there detectives discovered the bodies of 39-year-old Karen A. Lemaitre, the mother of Martin’s children, and her sister, 41-year-old Wanita A. Joffer.

An autopsy conducted by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office on Lemaitre and Joffer ruled their manner of death to be a homicide.

The case is under active investigation, led by the Union County Homicide Task Force with assistance from members of the Union Police Department, Hillside Police Department, and Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit.  

Anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Lieutenant Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271 or Detective Lamar Hartsfield at 908-451-1873. At this time, there is no known further threat to the community.

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