UNION TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Investigators were using search dogs to comb through parts of Liberty State Park in New Jersey on Friday in the hope of locating the body of a woman who they say was killed in Union Township earlier this week.
Numerous officers converged on the park in the morning in the search for 43-year-old April Wyckoff‘s body.
Investigators were also honing in on locations in Jersey City, Newark and Union — places they believe Wyckoff’s body may have been dumped.
Investigators believe she was murdered sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday at a home on Mercer Avenue in Union. Police said there is no doubt a murder took place.
“The evidence we believe shows the method of murder was a blunt force trauma,” Union County Prosecutor Grace Park said.
Prosecutors have charged Wyckoff’s boyfriend, 43-year-old Matthew Ballister, with murder. His mother, Eleanor Schofield, is also charged with helping him cover up the crime by allegedly concealing evidence.
“She was a great person, a great mother and a wonderful daughter,” Wyckoff’s mother, Diane Schenesky, told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown. “Please, anyone that knows anything, please, please help us find her and bring her home.”
Schenesky said Ballister and Wyckoff had an on-and-off relationship for years, but said she never met him.
His neighbors said they were stunned by the allegations.
“A nice guy, can’t believe he would do something like that,” neighbor Joe Fernicola said. “It don’t make sense.”
“Normal, very nice people,” added neighbor Lily Mora. “They were a nice couple.”
But Wyckoff’s ex-father-in-law said she had hooked up with a “bad guy.”
As authorities in three counties search for evidence, they are also looking for Ballister’s missing SUV.
They are asking anyone who may have seen Ballister in a 2005 Hummer between Tuesday or Wednesday night in either Jersey City, Newark or Union to call police.
Detectives are also searching for clues at Wyckoff’s Cranford home. Neighbors said the single mother of two had recently moved there and kept to herself.
Prosecutors said the case will proceed with or without a body. Ballister is being held on $2 million bail.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Robert Henderson at 908-527-4126 or 908-347-2686.
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