Prosecutor: Missing Woman Found Dead, Buried; Two Face Murder Charges

The prosecutors in Monmouth and Union counties jointly announced on Wednesday that an area man and woman have been charged with the murder of a Union County woman who went missing in March and was found, after an extensive search and investigation, to have been killed and buried in Long Branch.

Detectives on the night of Aug. 16 discovered the body of Tyrita R. Julius, 41, who has been missing since March 8, the authorities said.

Her friend Jennifer Sweeney, 32, of Tinton Falls, and Andre Harris, 32, of Long Branch, have been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree desecration of human remains and fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence, they added.

Bail was set at $1.5 million cash only, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley. The two accused made their initial appearance at 1:30 p.m. before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen at the Monmouth County Court House in Freehold.

“Significant efforts were made to bring us to the discovery we all feared — Tyrita Julius died a tragic death,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said today. “Tyrita was not dropped off at the Long Branch Train Station. Instead, Tyrita was murdered.”

The discovery of Tyrita Juluis came after an intensive five-month investigation by law enforcement personnel from the Monmouth and Union County prosecutor’s offices and the Linden, Tinton Falls and Long Branch police departments and the New Jersey Transit Police.

The case background …

After not hearing from Tyrita, her mother, Queen Julius, called the Linden Police Department in Union County to report her daughter missing. Julius told authorities Tyrita had been spending time with a female friend in Tinton Falls on March 8, but failed to return home later that evening.

Linden Police were advised that calls and text messages to Tyrita Julius’ phone went unanswered. Queen Julius also told police her daughter was reportedly dropped off at the Long Branch Train Station at approximately 7 p.m. by her friend Jennifer Sweeney, of Tinton Falls.

Law enforcement authorities from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Linden Police Department subsequently contacted the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office about the investigation.

A joint investigation by detectives from those agencies, as well as the Long Branch and Tinton Falls police departments unsuccessfully searched for Tyrita until last night.

Tyrita Julius had previously been the victim of a serious, yet non-fatal, shooting in Linden, on Nov. 24, 2015. The Linden Police Department was then called to 913 Middlesex Street in Linden in reference to the report of a shooting.

Upon arrival, police found Tyrita shot several times in the driver’s seat of her vehicle, which was located a short distance from her residence. At the time of the incident, a juvenile was seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle and was also the victim of a non-fatal gunshot wound.

Additionally, Sweeney and Harris are charged in Union County with two counts of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree conspiracy, and two counts of second-degree weapons offenses related to the 2015 incident in Linden. Bail is set at $500,000.

The investigation was led by Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Detective Kenneth Mikolajczyk of the Linden Police Department.

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

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management