Man charged with arson, murder of woman missing after fire

February 25, 2020 GMT

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — The housemate of New Jersey woman missing since their home burned down last year has been indicted on murder, arson and other charges, authorities said.

A Monmouth County grand jury returned a 16-count indictment Tuesday against Ronald Teschner in the alleged murder of Jacqueline Terrulli, prosecutors said.

Terrulli, 65, went missing after the Sept. 12 blaze in the Ocean Township home. Authorities said they found Teschner, 49, the next day in Paterson, driving Terrulli’s sport utility vehicle with her shotguns and jewelry inside.

Prosecutors allege in an affidavit of probable cause that Teschner became upset upon learning that the victim was going to kick him out of the house, the Asbury Park Press reported. Prosecutors allege that he strangled her when she caught him trying to steal things, disposed of her body and then returned and set fire to the home, the paper reported.

Teschner was indicted on charges including first degree murder, robbery, burglary, theft, arson, aggravated assault and disturbing human remains. Teschner has been jailed on weapons counts; a call was made to his public defender, who said earlier that his client maintains his innocence.

Prosecutors said that “the investigative team and numerous supporting agencies continue to do everything in their power to locate Jacqueline Terrulli’s remains.”