††††††††††††††††††† †††† Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† *News Release* ††† ††††††Date: March 6, 2010

 

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East Brunswick man charged in fatal beating

 

 

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan, Sayreville Police Chief Edward Szkodny and Spotswood Police Chief Karl G. Martin today announced the arrest of an East Brunswick man, who was charged with fatally beating and robbing a 55-year-old Sayreville woman in her Winding Wood apartment last summer.

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††††††††† Elliot Rivera Jr. (DOB 8/1/89) of 78 Main Street, Apartment 2, East Brunswick, was charged on the evening of March 5, 2010, with murder, armed robbery and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose following the slaying in July 2009 of Patricia Cantaloupe.

 

In a separate case, Rivera was charged with the carjacking of a 57-year-old Monroe Township woman, who was accosted in the parking lot of a Shop-Rite supermarket in Spotswood on February 26, 2010.

 

Rivera is being held on $2 million bail in the murder case and an additional $250,000 on the carjacking charge.

 

An investigation led by Sgt. Thomas Cassidy of the Sayreville Police Department and Investigator Scott Crocco of the Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office began on July 31, 2009, when a building maintenance supervisor found Ms. Cantalupe dead in her apartment at the Winding Wood complex in Sayreville.

 

An autopsy subsequently showed the woman died from blunt force trauma to the head after she was struck multiple times with a weapon that later was determined to be a hammer.

 

The investigation further revealed that her assailant fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and jewelry.

 

As the homicide investigation continued, police in Spotswood determined that Rivera was involved in the carjacking, and charged him on March 4, 2010. He was arrested after he surrendered at police headquarters on March 5, 2010.

 

Spotswood police were dispatched to the supermarket parking lot after the Monroe Township woman told authorities she had been approached by a man, who grabbed her arm and told her to get into her car, a red Honda. The man fled when the woman screamed.

 

Police subsequently questioned Rivera in the carjacking, and, after developing additional information, also charged him in the homicide.

 

Prosecutor Kaplan praised Spotswood Detective Kevin Palmer and East Brunswick Detective Kevin Zebro, as well as Detective Cassidy and Investigator Crocco for their work.

 

Rivera, who remains in custody, is expected to appear for a hearing at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick on March 8, 2010.

 

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Rivera are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.