SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Jim O’Neill finally responded to several attempts to get information about a death on Jones Drive last week, but did not provide any information.
“We have no comment at this time,” he said via email Monday.
Later in the afternoon, Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey did release a statement.
"The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office is not disclosing information at this time," the statement reads. "To provide details will necessarily jeopardize the investigation and risks the safety of both the public and law enforcement."
Law enforcement agencies have said absolutely nothing until Monday about an apparent death at the Woodhaven Apartment Complex on Jones Drive last Thursday morning, Sept. 24.
Residents interviewed at the complex Thursday evening said they believed a woman in unit 607 died and that police were canvassing the complex for a man that may have stayed with her.
Online phone records for the address show a landline phone number belonging to Samantha N. Ross, 47.
Local police referred all media inquiries to O’Neill and the prosecutor’s office on Thursday.
According to residents, police officers, detectives and county investigators spent much of that day going in and out of the unit, starting around 10 a.m. in the morning.
Two South Brunswick police cruisers and two officers were stationed at the front and rear of the unit Thursday evening around 7 p.m., and the unit itself was sealed with yellow crime scene tape.
Only one of several residents interviewed Thursday would go on the record.
Lara Brocklehurst, 18, said Thursday that she was looking out of the window of a friend's house in the apartment complex around 10 a.m. and saw "a bunch of cop cars, investigators and an ambulance truck" in front of the unit.
Brocklehurst said her mother, who lives in the complex, knew the woman that died and believed her name was Samantha and that she was married.
She also said her mother told her police officers were knocking on doors in the apartment complex looking for a man, possibly the victim's husband.
"I heard they are looking for him, I know he's missing," she said.
She also said neighbors told her that there was "screaming" coming from the apartment, but that it was not unusual.
"They were always arguing, so (the other neighbors) didn't think anything of it," she said.
Officials, however, would not either confirm or deny the report as of Monday, a full four days after the incident.
According to the state’s Open Public Records Act, basic information regarding a criminal investigation should be available within 24 hours or “as soon as practicable” after a request for such information.
“Where a crime has been reported but no arrest yet made, information as to the type of crime, time, location and type of weapon, if any,” the law states. “If an arrest has been made, information as to the name, address and age of any victims unless there has not been sufficient opportunity for notification of next of kin of any victims of injury and/or death to any such victim or where the release of the names of any victim would be contrary to existing law or Court Rule. In deciding on the release of information as to the identity of a victim, the safety of the victim and the victim's family, and the integrity of any ongoing investigation, shall be considered.”
Basic information on the person arrested must also be disclosed, according to the law.
We will continue working on this story and provide updated information as soon as possible.
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