ELIZABETH — Over the weekend the Union County Homicide Task Force charged an Elizabeth man with the death of a 92-year-old woman, Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced.
Daniel Rios, 38, was charged with felony murder and burglary in connection with the May 24 homicide of Annette Hemple. The victim was killed inside her Jefferson Avenue home. She was last seen alive by a family member who lives on the second floor around in the early afternoon on May 24. When the family member returned a few hours later they found Hemple on the floor of the living room unresponsive, said Romankow. She was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:21 p.m.
Rios was charged while in the county jail, said Romankow. He was arrested earlier last week in Newark by the Homicide Task Force. Rios was identified as a suspect after an investigation by Elizabeth Police Department on burglaries in the area prior to the homicide.
“The Elizabeth Police Department assisted the Homicide Task Force with valuable information that led to Rios being charged with the homicide,” said Romankow. “Cooperation is key in every investigation and this arrest is proof of what can happen when agencies work together towards a common goal.”
Based on the investigation it appears that Rios forced his way into Hemple’s residence, strangled her, and then stole loose change, said Romankow. He took the change to a local supermarket where he netted roughly $360.
“No one deserves to die this way, and an innocent woman who led a good life deserved better than this,” the prosecutor said. “This woman was killed for loose change.”
Judge Robert Mega signed the complaints against Rios and set his bail at $1.5 million. Rios is being held in the Union County Jail.
These criminal charges are mere accusations; Rios is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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