PLAINFIELD, NJ - A Plainfield man has been found guilty of the 2013 murder of his mother.
John Quackenbush, 47, was found guilty of beating his mother to death in the home they shared a little less than three years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Wednesday.
Plainfield Police Division officers responding to a request for a welfare check found the body of 69-year-old Gail Vandewalle under a blanket in her Watson Avenue home on Feb. 24, 2013, several days after her last known contact with friends or family members.
An autopsy by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that Vandewalle died of blunt-force trauma to the head caused by a 12-pound dumbbell. A fast-moving investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Plainfield Police Division resulted in Quackenbush being identified as a suspect, and he was arrested on February 25, 2013 at a motel in nearby Green Brook. Quackenbush was held on $1 million bail leading up to his trial.
Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for March 18. Convictions on first-degree murder charges result in sentences of up to life in state prison.