Murder mystery: Investigators search yard in hazmat suits, charge duo in death
FREEHOLD — Two people have been charged with murder in the disappearance of Tyrta Julius of Linden.
Both 33-year-old Jennifer Sweeney of Long Branch and 32-year-old Andre Harris of Tinton Falls were charged on Tuesday night with murder, desecration of human remains and tampering with evidence.
First assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Marc LeMieux told told the Asbury Park Press investigators went to Harris' home and found something in the backyard that resulted in the charges. He wouldn't say what was found.
The newspaper reported the back yard of the home on Joline Avenue was lit up and investigators were seen wearing hazmat suits.
Jones was reported missing in March after visiting with a friend in Long Branch who was never named by prosecutors. Prosecutors at first thought Jones took an NJ Transit train back to Linden but then said that was not the case. The prosecutor's office said Julius had spent the day in the Fox Chase section of Tinton Falls.
Monmouth County Crime Stoppers and Union County Crime Stoppers had jointly offered up to a $15,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Julius.
“There are still many lingering questions surrounding the disappearance of Ms. Julius, but one thing we are all certain about is this: Someone out there knows something about it. We strongly urge that person to come forward and do the right thing,” acting Chief of Detectives John G. McCabe, Jr. of the Union County Prosecutor's Office said in March.
Julius was shot several times Nov. 24, 2015, in the front seat of her car in Linden. Her teenage daughter, who sat in the front passenger seat, was grazed by a bullet fired by a man with a partially covered face who had approached the car to talk to the 15-year-old.
Friends of the family were concerned there may be a connection.
"We're not ruling out any connection," Gramiccioni said in March. "We're still exploring that but I couldn't tell you at this point in there is a connection. Everything is fluid in this investigation."
LeMieux said the shooting and the disappearance could be connected.
According to a GoFundMe page created for her family, a fundraiser was planned for Aug. 20.