Day: May 10, 2023

Neptune Police, SPCA And MCPO Investigating Neglect Of Severely Emaciated Puppy

May 10, 2023

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH) – Investigators are seeking assistance from the public in determining who may be responsible for the neglect of a severely emaciated puppy left on the side of the road in Neptune Township this past weekend, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

At approximately noon on Sunday, May 7, members of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) were called to the 1300 block of Monroe Avenue in Neptune Township on a report of a found puppy. The caller told those who responded that the night before, at about 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, he had found the dog two blocks away, near the intersection of Bangs and Myrtle Avenues, and he contacted the SPCA the next day when he realized that she was too sick for him to adequately care for her.

The puppy, a tan female pit bull mix estimated to be 8-10 weeks old and named “Matilda” by her caregivers, was rushed to the SPCA shelter for urgent medical care; a video posted to SPCA social media showed her curled in a fetal position upon arrival, her head shaking, unable to move, suffering from severe dehydration and hunger. By Wednesday, however, Matilda had shown small signs of improvement, having started socializing with other dogs at the shelter and eating.  

“The degree of neglect this defenseless puppy endured to wind up in the state she is currently in is, in a word, unfathomable,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “We are hopeful that someone who lives in or frequents this area may have some information that would allow us to identify who is responsible, and go about taking the first steps toward bringing them to justice.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact SPCA investigators at 732-440-1539. 

Animal cruelty charges in New Jersey can include third- and fourth-degree criminal offenses, punishable by a maximum of five years in state prison.

AG’s Office Releases Information Regarding Major Discipline Taken Against Law Enforcement Officers in 2022

May 10, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) — The Attorney General’s Office today released information regarding New Jersey law enforcement officers who faced major disciplinary action from their agencies in 2022. The release includes information about officers who were suspended for more than five days, demoted or terminated last year.

“Today’s release of information reflects our continuing commitment to increased transparency and accountability in the policing profession,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We know that achieving greater public safety in New Jersey requires greater public trust. This enhanced level of transparency builds upon the work of the directive I issued in November of last year, and compliments the police licensing bill supported by my office and law enforcement leadership statewide, passed by the legislature, and signed into law by Governor Murphy. By embracing greater transparency, the vast majority of New Jersey’s law enforcement officers who serve with honor, professionalism, and courage, are better able to carry out their duties more effectively and safely in service to the people of our state.”

The release is part of the ongoing effort by the Attorney General’s Office to increase public access to information about police discipline and use of force. It is being provided in accordance with Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2021-6, issued in June 2021 in response to a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that year authorizing the public release of certain police disciplinary information.

Under the directive, all New Jersey law enforcement agencies must submit on an annual basis major discipline reporting forms to the Attorney General’s Office containing the names of officers subjected to “major discipline” along with a brief synopsis of the conduct that led to the penalties. The information is also published on the individual agencies’ websites.

AG Directive 2022-14, issued in November 2022, expanded the list of infractions that would be considered major discipline to include among other things: discriminatory conduct, filing a false report, and intentionally performing an improper search. AG Directive 2022-14 was not in effect for this reporting period and as such those violations are not listed in this year’s release. The first year of data under that new directive will be released in 2024, covering the 2023 calendar year.

Additionally, AG Directive 2022-14 required that the major discipline disclosures include a synopsis that provides sufficient detail to enable a reader who is not familiar with the case to fully understand the factual scenario that resulted in the disciplinary action. The 2022 disclosures released today reflect that change, and the Office of the Attorney General is in the process of working with the 21 County Prosecutors to ensure that pre-2022 disclosures reflect the level of detail now required by directive.

The 2022 submissions show that the most frequently occurring offenses were related to attendance, including lateness and call-outs too close to the start of a shift. Descriptions mentioning a use of force-related violation accounted for about four percent of all major disciplinary actions reported for 2022.

Pending cases are not included in this data. Only sustained charges resulting in final sanctions or plea agreements are listed by the submissions. The information being released today is available online at a newly created dashboard which can be found here:

State Grand Jury Declines to Criminally Charge Officer Involved in Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash in Hamilton Township that Occurred on May 25, 2021

May 10, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Francis Delacruz Abad, 21, of Trenton, N.J., who was injured in a crash while he was driving away from Hamilton Township Police Detective Brian Davis on May 25, 2021. Davis was attempting to pull over Mr. Abad who was on a scooter, when Mr. Abad collided with a third-party vehicle. Mr. Abad died of his injuries two days later.  

Mr. Abad’s death was investigated by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents serving on the grand jury in accordance with the Independent Prosecutor Directive of 2019. In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the directive.

The investigation included interviews of witnesses, photographs, review of body-worn camera footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner. This evidence, including video of the aftermath of the incident, was presented to a state grand jury. After hearing the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the grand jury concluded its deliberations Monday, May 8, 2023, and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury concluded no criminal charges should be filed against Detective Davis.

According to the investigation, the crash occurred just after 9 p.m. on May 25, 2021 near the intersection of Route 33 and Whitehorse-Mercerville Road. Detective Davis was in an unmarked police vehicle when he attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop. Mr. Abad did not stop, but continued traveling westbound on Route 33 and collided with a Dodge Caravan, whose driver was attempting to turn left into the Mercerville Shopping Center from Route 33 eastbound. Mr. Abad was thrown from the scooter and struck the windshield of the van. He was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he died at approximately 3 p.m. on May 27.

A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved. The grand jury is instructed on the elements of the potential criminal offenses, including criminal homicide offenses, that could be brought and, as required by statutes, the grand jury is instructed on self-defense and other forms of legal justification.

A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation. Prior to presentation to the grand jury, the investigation was reviewed by OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.

At the conclusion of these investigations, pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and SOPs, OPIA determines whether any principal should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for administrative review in accordance with the AG’s Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures. OPIA monitors any resulting review and takes such actions as are necessary to ensure that the review is completed in a timely fashion, and that appropriate actions are taken based on the results of the review.

The Independent Prosecutor Directive is posted on the Attorney General’s website at this link:

Further information about how fatal police encounters are investigated in New Jersey under the directive is found at this link: file photo

15-Year-Old Struck And Killed On Route 70 In Lakewood

May 10, 2023

LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–Lakewood Police reported that last evening just before 10:00 p.m. Officer Christopher Dunphy was exiting a convenience store located on Route 70 when he heard what he described as a loud bang followed by yelling and screaming that someone was just struck by a car. Officer Dunphy entered his marked patrol car and located a 2006 white Lexus with heavy front-end damage at the intersection of Route 70 and Vermont Avenue. He then observed an unresponsive teenage female lying in the roadway behind the vehicle. While Officer Dunphy was gathering his medical equipment, volunteers from Hatzolah EMS arrived on scene and began to perform life saving measures. The 15-year-old victim was transported to Monmouth Medical Southern Campus Hospital but unfortunately succumbed to her injuries.

Further investigation revealed that the operator of the white Lexus, a 19-year-old Toms River man, was traveling west on Route 70 when he struck the victim who was walking south in the crosswalk at Vermont Avenue. She was with her mother and younger sister at the time of the incident.

At this time the investigation is still active with the assistance of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department. The driver of the 2006 Lexus is cooperating with law enforcement. No charges have been filed at this time.

Allentown Lions Roar With Pride: Lion Kevin O’Neill Named Parade Grand Marshal

May 10,2023

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–When the 2023 Allentown Lions Club Memorial Day Parade steps off at the corner of Allen Drive and Main Street on Monday, May 29th at 10:30 a.m. sharp, it will be led by one of the Historic Borough’s most dedicated citizens: Lion Kevin O’Neill of the Borough.

O’Neill, though no stranger to leadership positions, said he was both surprised and humbled by the citation. “To be named Parade Grand Marshal is, of course, a special honor and the Lions Club is a very special organization to me because it offers the opportunity to give back directly to the community. We serve wherever and whenever there is a need. That is what it’s all about.”

Every spring, the Lions Club seeks to honor one person who has served the community in a significant way over a period of years–even decades, said Parade Chair Rob Schmitt. “It’s never an easy choice,” Schmitt said. “The Committee considers many candidates over the course of a few months. We look, first and foremost, for a combination of military service and community service. That might include service organizations like the Lions, but it might also be someone who volunteers with the Ambulance Squad, or the Fire Company–or both, or who has coached kids for many years, or run one or several of our scouting organizations over the years, or done other work that betters our town and sets an example of selfless service for others.”

As a Veteran of the U.S. Navy (Corpsman), a 25-year Lion, a 37-year member of the Knights of Columbus, a 38-year member of American Legion Post #31, a 10-year veteran of the Hope Fire Co. a former Allentown Troop 180 Scout Master, Cub Pack 180 Leader, and member of the troop’s Executive Committee, a local youth baseball & soccer coach and a professional drug and alcohol counselor (LCSW), and as a noted friend and active citizen of Allentown Borough, Schmitt noted “so, all things considered, Kevin kind of fits the bill, right?” He added that list of what O’Neill actually accomplished for the community–and especially for the youth–within those organizations and “opportunities to give back” would undoubtedly fill volumes.

O’Neill, 63, of Greenfield Drive, has been married to his wife Eileen for 40 years and together they raised 3 children: Riley, 35; Molly, 29; and Casey, 25. (Both Riley & Casey are Allentown Eagle Scouts). “Eilleen and I moved to Allentown from Twin Rivers back in 1985. We had a condo there and had been looking in the area for a house and when we saw Allentown and then this house with this great backyard–we knew right away that this was the perfect place to raise our family.” O’Neill said.

The Grand Marshal said that he is particularly proud of reintroducing the outdoor adventure component to Allentown Scouting during his tenure with the troop. “The cultivation of the outdoor activities and high adventure program, for me, was so important in many ways: as a former Boy Scout–a kid growing up in Elizabeth, NJ–as a parent; and, of course later, as a Scoutmaster.” O’Neill independently took the rigorous BSA Assistant Scoutmaster training courses and put it to good use for Cub Pack 180 and Boy Scout Troop 180a. “I was passionate about getting the troop hiking and camping again, but Bill Hoover (also an Allentown Lion involved with scouting) introduced kayaking, and brought back canoeing, and water safety. In my time as Scoutmaster, we doubled the size of the troop.” Staying on the topic of Scouting and its importance in a community, O’Neil commented, “As a boy, I was surrounded by strong men of integrity who gave back. I credit them with showing me the example of what I would do later. I have tried to live my life by the Boy Scout Oath and Law and hope that the young people I have worked with grow up to be leaders who do the same.”

The proud Navy veteran, whose father served in the Merchant Marines during WWII, was born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ. O’Neill said, by the end of high school in 1973, he was eager to strike out on his own and joined the Navy where he served as a Corpsman from 1973-1977. He was keen to serve his country and volunteered for the FMF advanced training that would enable him to work on the front lines with the U.S. Marine Corps on the battlefields of Vietnam. This was not to be, however, as hostilities ended at the same time as his training. The young Corpsman was to spend his service as a Hospital Corpsman, first at the Naval Hospital in Orlando, Fl. (where he also became a licensed EMT), and later, at Naval Hospital in Philadelphia working in the area of Neuropsychology.

O’Neill, who earned his BA from Rutgers University in 1980, and a MSW at the University of Pennsylvania in 1982, has worked for NJ Transit for the past 17 years as the Senior Employee Assistance Professional. He earned a second M.A. in Administration from Rider University in 1989. He has been a Therapist at Main Street Counseling for the past 3 years.

Lions Club President Chuck Tkachuck of Millstone Twp. said O’Neill perfectly personifies the Lions mission to serve others wherever they are needed. “Lion Kevin is the example for the rest of us to follow. It’s that simple,” Tkachuck said. “We Lions put aside politics, religion, socioeconomic class, and all other barriers that keep us apart. Our mission is to serve others without expectation of reward or even acknowledgement. Kevin O’Neill has spent a lifetime exemplifying those high ideals of leadership, personal integrity, friendship, and service to others. But I must add that Kevin is a man known for his kindness and profound faith. We are beyond excited and proud to honor him as our 2023 Memorial Day Parade Grand Marshal.”

The Allentown Lions Club Memorial Day Parade is scheduled for Monday May 29, 2023, at 10:30am. It begins at the corner of Allen Drive & Main Street in the Borough, turns left up High Street, and ends at the lower Newell Elementary School Parking lot on High Street/ Rt. 539. Immediately following the parade is the Memorial Service for the Gallant Fallen at the War Memorial located at the upper parking lot of Newell Elementary. The Allentown Lions Club encourages all to attend this solemn and moving service.

For more information please contact Memorial Day Parade Chair Rob Schmitt at or by phone 609-364-0176

When the 2023 Allentown Lions Club Memorial Day Parade steps off at the corner of Allen Drive and Main Street on Monday, May 29th at 10:30 a.m. sharp, it will be led by one of the Historic Borough’s most dedicated citizens: Lion Kevin O’Neill of the Borough.