WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. – An abduction at the Jersey shore ended with a woman safe, her children dead and a suspect in custody Friday following a two-county search.
The woman was bound with rope and allegedly taken by a tenant from the Stafford Township home that she shared with her two children Thursday night, executive assistant Ocean County prosecutor Bob Gasser said.
The woman's ex-husband called police around 8:45 p.m. to say he found his sons, ages 7 and 14, stabbed to death in the home.
The woman managed to break free and ran to an attendant for help while the suspect fled on foot into the woods, Gasser said.
Mobil station night manager John Langenbacher said his employees recounted the dramatic scene for him.
"She was in the van and broke loose from her bonds, and was yelling and screaming for help from the van," Langenbacher said the workers told him.
State troopers, using dogs, searched the area before apprehending the suspect around 4:00 a.m. Friday.
"All I saw were police vehicles. There had to be at least 25 of them. They had canine units here and what looked like a SWAT team — body armor, automatic weapons with night scopes and a helicopter hovering overhead," Langenbacher said.
News 12 New Jersey reporter Tony Caputo was in the parking lot in his car preparing a report shortly before 4 a.m. when he looked up and saw a young man walking toward his car wearing jeans and a gray T-shirt.
"He was shivering, bent over. It looked like he was freezing. He walked over and sat down on a guardrail right in front of me," Caputo said.
Caputo said he slowly backed his car out of the spot and drove to the other side of the parking area and alerted a police officer.
The suspect got up off the guardrail and shuffled to the entrance of the rest area building, where he was confronted by an officer and taken into custody without resistance.
He was charged with abduction and was returned to Stafford for questioning as a suspect in connection with the slayings of the boys, Gasser said.
The woman was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center and was expected to be released, Gasser said.
Authorities have not released the names of anyone involved or the address of the home.
Ocean County's prosecutor planned to hold a news conference at 10 a.m.