Suspect arrested in murder of man found in Jersey Shore park
WALL TOWNSHIP — An Ocean Township man was arrested for the murder of a man whose body was found in a Monmouth County park.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said Joseph C. Villani, 20, was charged with first degree murder for the death of Trupal Patel, 29, of Brick who had been reported as missing to Asbury Park Police by a friend on Feb. 9. A Monmouth County park ranger found Patel's body while collecting trash in Shark River Park in Wall Township along Gulley Road on Wednesday morning.
Prior to his body being discovered, Patel's car was found abandoned on an Asbury Park steet. Ocean Township police were also involved in the initial investigation into Patel's death and determined he was killed in their township. The investigation into Patel's death is ongoing.
Gramiccioni credited the combined efforts of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Wall, Ocean and Asbury Park Police Departments for their efforts over the course of the last several days.
Patel was arrested last year, along with two others after police said they found 4.6 pounds of marijuana, more than an ounce of mushrooms, and $61,000 cash in their Brick and Point Pleasant homes. Patel pleaded guilty to a third-degree drug charge and was sentenced in November, according to court records.
Villani was also faces robbery and firearm possession charges and is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold. His detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
Gramiccioni asked anyone with information about Patel's death to call the Prosector's Office at 800-533-7443.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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