Bullied even after death: Teen charged with terrorizing NJ student’s funeral
SOUTH BRUNSWICK — A high school student who was tormented by bullies and struggled socially during her final years faced further degradation upon her death when her memorial service was viciously hijacked.
A teen who police say interrupted the Zoom memorial service with threats to blow up a funeral home last year has now been charged criminally.
The service for South Brunswick High School senior Emily Murillo in February 2021 was held online due to gathering restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 17-year-old died in January 2021 when her Jeep went off Canal Road and fell into the Delaware & Raritan Canal in Franklin. Emily's death was ruled a suicide, according to her mother.
The service was interrupted by someone who threatened to "make the casket turn to ashes," according to South Brunswick police Chief Raymond Hayducka.
“It was unspeakable to us that while family and friends were mourning the loss of this young girl, someone would look to threaten them,” Hayducka said in a statement. "Investigators never gave up in their search for the suspect.
One final indignity for a bullying victim
Emily's mother Erin told MyCentralJersey.com in July 2021 that her daughter was bullied at home, at school and at her job at Target. The Zoom incident at the memorial was one more indignity when people called Emily "stupid" and signed in with names like "Emmy's f****ng corpse."
Emily had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD and severe dyslexia, her mother told MyCentralJersey.com.
Criminal charges for memorial service
A juvenile from North Jersey was charged with second-degree terroristic threats, third-degree false public alarm, and fourth-degree cyber harassment. The charges were elevated because the threat was made during the state of emergency from the COVID pandemic, according to the chief.
The investigation involved the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office, New Jersey State Police, the FBI and law enforcement agencies in Connecticut and North Jersey, Hayducka said. Numerous court orders and contact with several social media platforms were also part of the investigation.
“I told all the officers involved that we will never stop until we track down every lead. It took almost 18 months, but we got him,” Hayducka said.
If you feel you or someone you know may be in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 (starting 7/16/22), 1-800-273-TALK, or the NJ Hopeline, 1-855-654-6735