A medical examiner has confirmed that human remains found last week on an Ocean Township property are those of Jacqueline Terrulli, 65, who went missing in September of 2019, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced on Friday.
The remains were first discovered on Thursday in the immediate vicinity of 86 Wickapecko Drive during demolition of the property. After notification to law enforcement, authorities obtained a search warrant and the remains were exhumed late Thursday night.
Terrulli’s remains were discovered wrapped in plastic and buried several feet in the ground near the immediate vicinity of the burned home. As a result of a 2019 fire at the 6,000-square-foot residence, extensive charred rubble had collapsed upon and covered the burial site.
In 2019, when Terulli first went missing, several searches of the home had been undertaken during the investigation, including repeated searches with K-9 cadaver dogs. Terrulli’s body went undiscovered until last Thursday, likely due to the limited decomposition of the remains. K-9 cadaver dogs are trained to detect decomposition.
Terrulli’s remains were ultimately identified by dental records. The exact cause of her death has not yet been determined.
The case background …
On Sept. 12, 2019, at 7:32 a.m., the Ocean Township Wickapecko Drive residence was discovered to be completely engulfed in flames. Once the fire was extinguished, a joint investigation was launched by the Ocean Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in cooperation with the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Police determined that Terrulli and another resident, Ronald Teschner, were missing, along with Terrulli’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
In the early morning hours of Friday, September 13, 2019, Teschner was found in Paterson alone in Terrulli’s vehicle. The vehicle contained various items, including clothing, shotguns, jewelry and lawn equipment, all belonging to Terrulli.
On February 24, 2020, a Monmouth County grand jury returned a 16-count indictment against Teschner for the murder of Terrulli. Despite extensive investigatory efforts, the body of Jacqueline Terrulli was not found until now.
If convicted of Murder, Teschner faces the possibility of life in prison without parole.
Teschner is currently being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold.
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