Officers were sent to Hurley Pond Road just east of Route 547 around 3:45 a.m. for a report that an unconscious man was in the street.
When they arrived, they found 33-year-old Domingo Merino Rafael, of Lakewood, lying face down in the road. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators initially believed Rafael may have been killed in a hit-and-run crash, but the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office says they later determined that was not the case.
Rafael’s death has been ruled a homicide. Further details have not yet been released.
Anyone who has information regarding Rafael’s death should call the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office at 800-533-7443 or the Howell Township Police Department at 732-938-4575 ext. 2245.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call the Monmouth County Crime Stoppers tipline at 1-800-671-4400, text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637 or submit a tip online at monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.