UNION COUNTY — Authorities identified human remains recovered in Newark on Sunday as belonging to the Cranford woman who was the victim of a homicide in Union Township last week, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.
The remains of 43-year-old April Wyckoff were recovered next to a branch of the Passaic River near a portion of the 100 block of Raymond Boulevard in Newark. An autopsy took place Monday morning, after which investigators made the identification.
The discovery followed an intensive search involving more than 200 municipal, county and state law-enforcement representatives combing through multiple areas in Hudson, Essex and Union counties from Wednesday through the weekend. Union Township resident Matthew Ballister III, 43, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with Wyckoff’s death last Tuesday evening, held on $2 million bail set by state Superior Court Judge Robert J. Mega.
“We want to thank each of the departments that devoted manpower and resources to an exhaustive and widespread search conducted by air, land and sea during much of the last week. It was a prime example of the power of cooperation in law enforcement,” Park said. “The recovery of Ms. Wyckoff is not only significant for our investigation, but essential to bringing her family the closure they deserve.”
The investigation was led by the Union County Homicide Task Force and Union Township Police Department with assistance from the United States Park Police, New Jersey National Guard, New Jersey State Police, New Jersey State Park Police, Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Emergency Response Team, John H. Stamler Police Academy recruits, Cranford Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, Mountainside Police Department, Newark Police Department, and Perth Amboy Police Department.
Based on evidence obtained during the course of the investigation, the incident that led to Wyckoff’s death is believed to have occurred at Ballister’s home. Ballister’s mother, 70-year-old Eleanor Schofield of Mountainside, also has been charged with fourth-degree hindering apprehension for allegedly interfering with the investigation by attempting to assist in his efforts to conceal evidence of the crime.
This investigation remains active, as authorities are continuing to search for additional human remains. Anyone with information about Wyckoff’s death is being urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Robert Henderson at 908-347-2686.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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