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Suspect’s girlfriend also charged with murder of missing Jersey Shore man

Joseph C. Villani
Joseph C. Villani (Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office)

OCEAN TOWNSHIP (Monmouth) — The girlfriend of the man accused of killing a drug dealer from Brick and leaving his body in a park has also been charged with murder.

A Monmouth County grand jury handed up a 13-count indictment against Joseph Villani, 21, of Ocean Township, and his girlfriend, Raquel Garajau, 20, in the February death of Trupal Patel. Villani was charged with first-degree murder after Patel’s body was found in a car parked alongside Gulley Road inside Shark River Park in Wall.

Suspect arrested in murder of man found in Jersey Shore park

Garajau was also charged with first-degree murder after additional evidence determined that she conspired with Villani to kill Patel and help destroy and conceal evidence, prosecutors said.

Prior to his body being discovered, Patel’s black 2003 Jaguar was found abandoned on an Asbury Park street. Ocean Township police determined he was killed at Villani’s home.

Patel was a convicted drug offender and prosecutors revealed in court in March that Villani had planned to rob the drug dealer, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.

In addition to the murder charges, Villani and Garajau both face first-degree robbery, first-degree felony murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of an assault rifle, second-degree disturbing or desecrating human remains, three counts of fourth-degree tampering with evidence, third-degree hindering apprehension of oneself, third-degree hindering apprehension of another, and third-degree tampering with a witness.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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