OLD BRIDGE – A Perth Amboy man has been charged with breaking into the home of an Old Bridge woman, sexually assaulting her, killing her and setting a fire in her bedroom last week, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Old Bridge Police Chief Thomas H. Collow announced.
Robert L. Hayes Jr., 32, was charged with burglary, aggravated sexual assault, murder and aggravated arson in the April 8 death of Petra Rohrbaugh, 52, of 18 Hilltop Boulevard in the Cliffwood Beach section of Old Bridge, authorities said.
Following an intensive investigation by the Old Bridge Police Department, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police, the charges were filed against Hayes on April 14, at about 8 p.m., according to authorities
Hayes is scheduled to appear today at 1:30 p.m. before Superior Court Judge Michael Toto at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, authorities said.
After the charges were filed, Superior Court Judge Barbara Stolte set bail at $3 million, bringing the total bail for Hayes to $3.2 million. He must post the full amount, and not 10 percent, before he can be released from custody, according to authorities.
His bail initially was set at $200,000 after he was arrested and charged on the evening of April 8, with obstruction and hindering police during the investigation into the death of Rohrbaugh. It was charged that he gave police false information during the investigation, authorities said.
Police began the investigation after receiving a 911 call shortly before 8 a.m. on April 8.
Rohrbaugh was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy determined her death was the result of a homicide, but the cause of death has yet to be determined, pending the results of further medical testing, authorities said.
The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office positively identified the woman on April 14, through dental records, authorities said.
Hours after the homicide, police traced Hayes to the home of an unidentified friend in Aberdeen, and brought him to the Old Bridge Police Department, where he was charged with obstruction and hindering, authorities said.
Prosecutor Kaplan praised police for their work on the case and thanked Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance.
Authorities are asking with information to call Detective Michael Machen at the Old Bridge Police Department at (732) 721-5600, or Investigator Paul Miller at the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4466.
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