CARTERET, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A murder mystery was unfolding in Middlesex County on Friday night, after a husband and father of two was found dead inside of a house that he was renovating.

Carteret police were guarding the house on Essex Street, which is now a crime scene.

As CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported, investigators say the house’s owner, 50-year-old Anthony Mocci, was found dead inside around 8:15 a.m.

Mocci’s neighbors were distraught over his death.

“I’m really upset,” friend Marge Dunigan said.

He lived in Colonia with his wife and two children, but was remodeling the vacant Carteret house.

Dennis Dunigan, a friend of more than 20 years, said Mocci owned multiple construction companies.

“Whenever you need a hand, he’s always been there. Construction-wise, he offers opinions, and any kind of help he can,” Dennis Dunigan said.

Mocci’s father is a prominent developer in the area, the family name is attached to several strip malls and properties.

Police have called Mocci’s death a homicide, but have not named any suspects.

Those who knew Mocci sang his praises.

“He’s been a great friend to everybody,” Dennis Dunigan said.

It’s a mystery, they can’t imagine who would want to hurt Mocci.

“He’s our neighbor and our friend, and he’s dead. That’s why it’s a shock. I’m grieving for his family,” Marge Dunigan said.

His family is now planning an unexpected funeral.

The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s office has not yet released the results of an autopsy, or an official cause of death.


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