Authorities have apprehended a suspect in connection with the killing of a New Jersey mother whose body was discovered near a highway, days after she was reported missing on Mother’s Day.
Gregory Mallard, a 35-year-old resident of Jersey City, has been charged with first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, failure to dispose of human remains, and other related offenses in relation to the death of Norelis Mendoza, 32, as stated in a press release from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Limited information is available about Mallard’s arrest on May 19, but the prosecutor’s office has indicated that the case is being treated as an act of domestic violence. Mallard is currently in custody in Somerset County.
Mendoza, a resident of Lindenwold, was discovered on May 17 near Route 440 in Bayonne, close to the Jersey City border, according to previous statements from the prosecutor’s office. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The exact cause and manner of Mendoza’s death are pending the findings of the regional medical examiner’s office.
Reportedly last seen alive in Jersey City on May 13, Mendoza had allegedly left her mother’s residence and failed to return phone calls, as per NBC 10 Philadelphia.
The victim’s cousin, Giovanni Molina, expressed anguish over the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, stating, “It’s devastating because of the amount of time, especially… That gave four days of agony, meaning that we had no idea where Norelis could possibly be.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to assist Mendoza’s family, who are now responsible for caring for her two surviving daughters, aged 1 and 3.
The fundraiser emphasizes Mendoza’s compassionate nature, describing her as “a beacon of light” who would extend assistance to anyone in need. The family aims to raise the children with the same values of love and kindness.
Mallard is currently being held in Somerset County, and it remains unclear whether he has entered a plea or secured legal representation.
Prosecutors have confirmed that the investigation is ongoing and active.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.