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Monroe man charged with killing stepfather

MONROE – A township man has been charged with killing his stepfather.

Joao C. Torres, 26, was charged on Jan. 5 with the murder of Christopher Ernst Sr., 46, who was found dead in a garage room of a home they shared on Garvey Drive in Monroe Township, according to a statement released by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief Michael E. Lloyd of the Monroe Township Police Department.

Police began the investigation when they received a call on Jan. 4 from an individual who was concerned when Torres had failed to report for work.

Police began a search for Torres after finding Ernst, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

During the investigation, it was determined that Torres allegedly struck his stepfather in the head with an unidentified weapon. An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office described the injuries as chopping wounds to the head, officials said.

Torres also was charged with obstruction and resisting arrest for fleeing after allegedly killing his father. The defendant was reportedly found by police in a wooded area located several miles from the home, according to the statement.

Torres was being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick as of press time.

The case is being investigated by Detective Joseph Silvestri of the Monroe Township Police Department and Detective Craig Marchak of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Anyone with information should call Silvestri at 732-521-0222, ext. 151, or Marchak at 732-745-3254.

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