Cops: Cousin Killed New Jersey Girl, 15, in Her Basement

A 24-year-old Toms River man has been charged with killing his 15-year-old cousin in the basement of her home Tuesday night, police said Wednesday.

Garry Zigich Jr. is charged with murder in the strangulation death of Brittany Cena.

Police responded to the home after receiving a 911 call around 6 p.m. Tuesday reporting that the girl had been found on the floor of the basement, Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said.

Cena's body was discovered by her grandparents. It may have lain undiscovered in the basement for most of Tuesday, Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said Wednesday.

An autopsy was to be conducted to try to determine whether a sexual assault took place, Ford said.

The girl's grandparents found her after a missing persons report was filed when she did not come home from school, Ford said. She did not go to school Tuesday, although her family assumed she was there.