PLAINFIELD - The Union County Homicide Task Force and the Plainfield Police Division arrested a 44-year-old city man early this morning and charged him in the death of his 69-year-old mother, Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced.
John Quakenbush is charged with first degree murder and is being held at the Union County Jail on $1 million bail.
Police were called to a Watson Avenue home on Sunday for a welfare check after the victim, Gail Vandewalle, had not been heard from since Feb. 19. Police searched the residence and discovered Vandewalle’s body in the living room, underneath a blanket. The death was ruled a homicide, the first in Union County for 2013 according to the prosecutor’s office.
An investigation determined that Vandewalle had been living with Quakenbush, her adult son. Evidence gathered during the course of the investigation revealed the son to be a suspect in the homicide. He was located a short time later at a motel in Green Brook and was transported to Plainfield Police Headquarters, where he was placed under arrest.
The charges against Quakenbush are merely accusations; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.