Prosecutor: Neighbor Charged in Keansburg Girl’s Murder

An upstairs neighbor is charged with the murder of 11-year-old Abbiegail Smith in Keansburg and ordered to be held with out bail at an initial appearance on Friday, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

Andreas Erazo, 18, of Keansburg, was charged with: first-degree murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the death of 11-year-old Abbiegail “Abbie” Smith, who was found dead on Thursday morning.

At his initial court appearance Friday afternoon, Erazo was ordered held without bail until a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. with Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English.

If convicted of murder, Erazo faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole.

He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of possession of weapon for an unlawful purpose, he faces a sentence of three to five years in prison. If convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon, Erazo faces up to 18 months in state prison.

The case background …

Keansburg police responded to 16 Hancock St., Keansburg, at about 9:24 p.m., Wednesday, July 12, after receiving a report that the resident’s 11-year-old daughter was missing. Keansburg police immediately launched a missing person’s investigation.

Keansburg police notified the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office of the situation in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 13, when a joint investigation was launched into the disappearance of Abbiegail Smith.

At approximately 10:20 a.m., detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Forensic and Technical Services Bureau were behind the apartment complex, which includes the victim’s residence.

While in the rear yard, detectives ultimately observed an object wrapped up in what appeared to be a blanket or comforter up on a rear roof. Upon closer inspection, they found what appeared to be a deceased human body.

The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene. The victim was pronounced deceased at 1:10 p.m. by Dr. Lauren Thoma. The body has since been identified as Abbiegail Smith. The cause and manner of death is pending a post-mortem examination.

As the investigation continued into the murder, police identified and ultimately charged Erazo, the young girl’s upstairs neighbor, with murder and the weapons charges detailed above.

Anyone with information regarding the Murder, should contact Detective Wayne Raynor of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Joseph Jankowski of the Keansburg Police Department at 732-787-0600.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker.

Erazo is represented by Emeka Nkwuo, of Freehold.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

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