SUMMIT, NJ - The son of Summit murder victim Abelino Mazariego has been charged with third degree forgery for altering a donation check his family received. His first appearance in Superior Court is scheduled for today.
The 26-year-old son, also named Abelino Mazariego, was arrested on Sept. 2 after the victim notified police that the check she had sent to the Mazariego family had been altered, according to Detective Lt. Steve Zagorski of the Summit Police Department.
Zagorski said Mazariego altered the check, which was for $250, by adding a 1 to the amount, making it $1,250. He then cashed it at his bank.
The elder Mazariego was killed on the evening of July 17 while sitting on the Summit Promenade after finishing his shift at a local restaurant. Three teenagers have been charged with his murder.
Since then, numerous donations have been sent to help the Mazariego family, including the victim's wife, four children and one grandchild. The falsified check was sent directly to the family, and not to the Summit Area Public Foundation, which is the official collection point for donations to the Mazariego family.
"The check that Abelino Mazariego changed was not sent to the foundation," said Mayor Jordan Glatt. "This is an example of why you should be careful where you send money for these kinds of donations. Any donations for the Mazariego family should be sent to the Summit Area Public Foundation, which carefully screens the money they're receiving and how they're distributing it to the family."
Jack Cooper, president of the Summit Area Public Foundation, said donations the foundation have received have been used to pre-pay the family's rent through the end of the year, and provides a method by which they can get groceries and other necessities.
"No checks are handled by anyone but us," Cooper said.
The murder of Mazariego, who came to the United States 14 years ago from El Salvador, rocked the Summit community. An aftershock came about a week later when Stephan Randolph of Flemington, who was employed as a registered nurse in the emergency room at Overlook Hospital, was charged with third degree theft for taking $640 in cash the victim was carrying.
Residents held a community service in late July to remember Mazariego, and nearly 200 people attended his funeral mass at St. Theresa of Avila in Summit.