Abbie Smith stabbed in neck — Judge keeps details secret to protect accused killer
This story was reported and written by Dan Alexander and Sergio Bichao
KEANSBURG — A cause and manner of death for Abbiegail "Abbie" Smith has been determined as her family prepares to lay the slain 11-year-old to rest.
A medical examiner concluded that a stab to the neck killed the schoolgirl last week, according to a brief statement from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
But prosecutors and the court are closely guarding other details of the crime that shocked this community and beyond, arguing that the accused killer's "character and reputation" could be harmed by the media publicizing details before a trial.
Abbiegail's body was found wrapped in a blanket on a rear roof of the apartment building on Hancock Avenue, where she lived with her mother, 12 hours after being reported missing Wednesday night.
Andreas Erazo, 18, who lived upstairs from Abbie, was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder.
Authorities have not said whether they know what they believe motivated Erazo or what led investigators to finger him as the suspect.
Such details would usually be summarized in an investigator's affidavit of probable cause filed with the court.
But Superior Court Judge Richard W. English on Friday signed an order requested by the prosecutor and defense attorney sealing the record pending a detention hearing this week. The order, which the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office provided to New Jersey 101.5 in response to a request for access to records in this case, also prevents reporters and the public from hearing any police recordings related to the case.
"There has been intense, pervasive media attention, local, tristate, and national, in this case," the order says. "The United States Supreme Court recognizes that, in cases that arouse intense public interest, 'adverse publicity can endanger the ability of the defendant to receive a fair trial.'"
The order argues that if a grand jury were not to indict Erazo on the charges, his "character and reputation in the community would be irreparably harmed by media publication and widespread dissemination of the inculpatory, provocative discovery items ..."
Prosecutor Christopher Grammiccioni told reporters last week that more details about the case eventually would come out in future court hearings.
The girl's funeral, meanwhile, is scheduled for Monday at St. Ann's Church in Keansburg, with a viewing on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Jacqueline M. Ryan Home for Funerals.
Abbie's father, Kenroy Smith, posted a thank you on his Facebook page on Tuesday morning. He also thanked law enforcement for Erazo's arrest and wrote that he hoped to ask him why he killed Smith.
Abbie loved dancing, modeling, dressing up, and making people laugh, according to her obituary. She was born in Jamaica and moved with her family from Highlands to Keansburg two years ago.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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