Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz progressively promoted Benjamin Ruiz through the ranks from Captain to Deputy Chief, and to head the department as Chief.
Police Chief Benjamin Ruiz said that recovering a dead body in Perth Amboy “is not a common occurrence” but the city has been flooded with cadavers since shortly before the current mayor took office.
Ruiz claimed it is a rarity when he confirmed that the remains of a man were discovered in a wooded area north of Washington Street and East Avenue on Monday, but murder, accidents and suicide have left officials frequently turning up corpses.
A week before Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz took the oath of office, Jesus Ramirez was stabbed to death behind a warehouse at 500 High Street and police found his body wedged under a pier in the Arthur Kill.
The body of 18-year-old Jose Aparicio, who fell off the end of a jetty, was recovered in the Raritan River off Sadowski Parkway in Perth Amboy on July 30, 2008, the same month Diaz took office in ceremonies attended by .
A Perth Amboy man, Franklin Camacho Jr., admitted to beating his wife to death and then dumping her body in a 2012 plea bargain with theMiddlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
A state highway maintenance crew discovered the body of 18-year-old Perth Amboy resident Sylvestre Tejada, who was struck and killed by a motor vehicle along Route 35 in July 2011.
A fisherman spotted the corpses of a 27-year-old man who went swimming in the Raritan River and apparently drowned on August 14, 2013.
Twenty-four people have died since 2004 jumping off the Victory Bridge, a state-owned span over the Raritan River connecting Perth Amboy with Sayreville.
“This bridge makes it easy for someone to jump off,” said Diaz. “It’s a magnet for people who want to end their lives.”
Two more apparent suicide victims were recovered from the river on September 20. Another body was recently found near Colgate Avenue but officials failed to notify news publications.
The attempt to diminish the significance of the latest crime apears to be a favor to Diaz, who progressively promoted Ruiz through the ranks from Captain to Deputy Chief, and to head the department as Chief.
A member of the of the city police force since 1988, Ruiz has been accused of violating department rules by mixing police work with politics as well as sexual misconduct.
Ruiz is being investigated for apparent misconduct concerning sexual relationships with other city employees.
A photo of Ruiz in full uniform at a political function the night Diaz had been re-elected mayor two years age allegedly violated his department’s regulations.
Sources say Ruiz sought to downplay the significance of the latest dead body to prevent voters from worrying about crime 21 days before a hot city council race draws to an end.
Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz currently controls the city council, comprised of her five political allies.
There are two city council incumbents who are in serious trouble this year, and the Mayor’s control of the governing body hangs in the balance.
Diaz released a statement calling yesterday’s incident “a tragic loss,” offering condolences to the family and asking the community keep them in their prayers.
The Mayor has not responded to reports that show public safety deteriorating in the city but the “Wilda Diaz Team” includes two councilmen seeking re-election, former school board member Joel Pabon and former volunteer fire chief William Petrick.
There has been a sharp rise in violent offenses lately.
According to State Police reports, there was a 120 percent increase in the number of shootings in Perth Amboy during the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year.
In addition there were eight armed robberies, plus 16 stabbings and 56 assaults involving other dangerous weapons during the first six months of 2014, which reflect a large increase in the number of aggravated assaults.
State Police reports also show the Perth Amboy Police Department failed to solve the vast majority of reported crimes, leaving four out of five criminals to escape justice.
Last year, police solved only 375 of 1,751 crimes reported in the city — or 20 percent. During the first six months of 2014, local police solved only 17 percent of all reported crimes, according to State Police reports.
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