Husband of missing New Jersey woman charged with her murder
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) -- Sporting an orange jumpsuit and a beard, Kyle Crosby was called a flight risk and a drug addict by prosecutors Tuesday as they accused him of killing his wife, who's been missing since New Year's Eve.
Crosby, 28, was charged with murder in the death of 26-year-old Erica Crippen, whose body still had not been found.
Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Jim Ronca said Crosby was addicted to painkillers and had a long criminal history that includes narcotics and burglary convictions. After the eight-minute court hearing, a judge increased his bail to $1.2 million.
Crippen hasn't been seen since she posted a photo online just before 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
"I don't know why he would throw it all away," Crippen's aunt, Dana Crippen, said, fighting back tears outside the courtroom. "I love her so much and it's killing me ... I just miss her so much and we will never get her back."
The woman's aunt said she knew almost immediately that something was wrong because Erica always put her two children first and wouldn't voluntarily disappear without warning.
"Right now we feel like her spirit isn’t resting, we feel like she’s gone and she’s roaming, and she’s wishing she was with her kids and her family right now," Dana Crippen said. "He didn’t just do anything to her he did to all of us- we don’t even know how we’re going to go on without her this summer, she is the life of everything."
Few details were released in court, but prosecutors said Crosby left the area for five days after police became involved in the case and was spotted in Baltimore and Delaware. He was arrested Monday evening after he ran from his car during a traffic stop in Camden County, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.
Authorities found items of "evidential value" in connection with his wife's disappearance in the vehicle's trunk, prosecutors said but didn't elaborate. The affidavit of probable cause was sealed and Crosby said he intended to retain an attorney.
Crippen lived in Mount Laurel with Crosby, her 7-year-old daughter and the couple's infant daughter. Relatives said they started to suspect something went wrong when Crosby started calling family members to watch the children.
A day after he reported Crippen missing, Crosby wrote on his Facebook page: "I need a babysitter for the girls! Does anyone know a reliable one pls let me know."
Police visited the home for a wellness check on Jan. 7 after Crippen's daughter didn't report to school. Crosby signed a missing person report that day and said he had not seen his wife since Jan. 1.
Crosby was also facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child "due to the level of care he provided to the children in the absence of his wife," authorities said. That charge was filed on Saturday and allowed officers to detain him Monday evening.
Crippen said when she first met Crosby he seemed like a very nice guy, but that changed over time. She says her niece was "happy, outgoing, educated, smart, talented and she loved her kids – she was all about school – she was supposed to start classes at Rowan (University) this month."
"I really wanted him (Crosby) to see my face in court because everybody knows she looks exactly like me – I wanted him to see my face," Crippen said.
Townsquare Media's David Matthau contributed to this report.