UPDATED: Human remains -- including bones --- were found at the demolition site of an Ocean Township home where a missing woman was allegedly killed by her ex-con, drug-addicted housemate before he torched it last fall, authorities said.
A construction company was clearing the property at 86 Wickapecko Drive when bones were discovered on Thursday. It’s uncertain whether the remains are those of 65-year-old Jacqueline Terrulli.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed an active law enforcement investigation at the property that Terrulli was renting when she disappeared. A dozen officers from Ocean Township Police Department and the county prosecutor's office were at the home Thursday night. The property was surrounded by police tape.
"We cannot confirm anything other than that our office is at the residence continuing our ongoing investigation into Ms. Terrulli's disappearance," Chris Swendeman, a spokesman for the county prosecutor, told Daily Voice.
On Friday, Charles Webster, another spokesman for county Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, confirmed "there were some remains found on the property" — specifically bones.
Webster said the county Medical Examiner will have to confirm whether the remains are human.
"The medical examiner — as you saw — has come here to take them away and they're going to do an autopsy," Webster said. "This could be a long process, we just don't know right now."
Authorities have been searching for Terrulli’s body for nine months, scouring the woods around her house and nearby Deal Lake. Demolition of the former $1.7 million home began last month.
Ex-convict Ronald Teschner, 49, was charged in Terrulli's death. She allowed him to stay at the rental home where she and her mother, Lorraine Terrulli, lived while he kicked a drug habit, authorities said.
Teschner is facing 16 charges related to Terrulli's disappearance, including murder, robbery, arson, aggravated assault and disturbing human remains.
Prosecutors have said Teschner killed Terrulli on Sept. 12, 2019, after she caught him stealing from her, then lit her 6,000 square-foot home on fire with nail polish remover, according to media reports.
Teschner fled to Passaic County in a white Jeep Cherokee that belonged to Terrulli after packing it with items he stole from her -- including shotguns, jewelry and bank cards, prosecutors said. He was arrested on weapons charges in Paterson the next day.
Teschner was charged two months after the massive fire and is indicted on murder, arson, burglary and several other crimes. Prosecutors have said he confessed to a jailhouse snitch about her killing, which Teschner denied.
Thursday's discovery came shortly after her family admitted they had been losing hope of ever finding Terrulli's remains, according to the Asbury Park Press.
"I don't think we are ever going to find her," Joanie Kraft of Lincoln Park, Terrulli's sister, told app.com. "Unless someone walks by and finds her ... very rarely do you hear that the cops find these people."
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