MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Authorities are investigating what they are calling a double homicide in the deaths of a female au pair and her male employer who have not yet been identified.
The deaths rocked a suburban neighborhood Saturday 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 a woman exited a house on Walton Road, crossed Jefferson Avenue, and ran toward a house on the corner Woodland Road.
Police then found an injured woman lying in the street.
She was 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.
That same morning, a man was found dead inside of a home in the 400 block of Walton Road, Stephens and DeVaul said in a news release. The man's wife and children were at the Jersey Shore at the time of the incident, according to neighbors.
Neighbors said they saw a man who they believed was the au pair's boyfriend hanging out near the home and acting suspicious the night before the killings.
The victims' identities are being withheld until the next of kin is notified, said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly. Autopsies are being conducted at the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Newark to determine the cause of death.
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. The neighborhood is less than a half mile away from Maplewood Village, a center of town 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.
Property tax records show the house is owned by David and Laura Kimowitz. According to David Kimowitz's LinkedIn page, he is a proprietor of The Stand Restaurant & Comedy Club in New York City.
Neighbors described the people who lived in the house as a husband and wife with two preschool-aged children and 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 neighbors.
Neighbors said the family mostly kept to themselves but some of the neighbors said they occasionally made small talk with the people.
“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.
Publisher Fred Smith contributed to this article.