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Man Charged With Killing Homeless Woman Whose Body Was Found In Passaic River

Handcuff (credit: clipart.com)

Handcuffs (credit: clipart.com)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A homeless man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a Newark woman whose body was found in the Passaic River last week.

Joseph Melillo, 44, of Newark, was arrested and charged with the murder of Therese Diggins, 58, who was also homeless at the time, according to the Essex County, N.J., Prosecutor’s Office.

This past Friday, Newark police found Diggins’ body in the Passaic River, near 996 Route 21. During an autopsy, authorities found that Diggins had been stabbed in the neck and bashed over the head, and her death was ruled a homicide.

Prosecutors’ detectives arrested Melillo and charged him with murder. His bail was set at $1 million by Essex County Superior Court Judge Sebastian Lombardi, prosecutors said.

Melillo’s initial court appearance was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday before Essex County Superior Court Presiding Judge Peter Vazquez.

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