Human remains have been discovered in the basement of the demolished mansion where a New Jersey woman feared dead was last seen eight months ago.
Authorities are investigating if the remains belong to Jacqueline Terrulli, a 65-year-old woman who vanished in September 2019 after her $1.7million mansion was mysteriously set ablaze.
Prosecutors have charged her former roommate, Ronald Teschner, with murder in relation to her death after he reportedly confessed.
On Thursday, Monmouth authorities were called to the site of the Ocean Township mansion after a construction company was clearing the property, NJ.com reports.
Authorities in Monmouth County, New Jersey, found human remains at the now-demolished home of a missing New Jersey woman on Thursday (pictured)
Prosecutors have accused Ronald Teschner(left) of killing his friend and roommate Jacqueline Terrulli (right), who went missing in September 2019
A worker was using a backhoe when he reportedly found the human remains in the area near the destroyed home’s foundation.
The medical examiner arrived to the scene shortly after 7pm and will determine if the human remains belong to Terrulli.
‘The medical examiner — as you saw — has come here to take them away and they’re going to do an autopsy,’ Charles Webster, a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office, told Asbury Park Press.
‘This could be a long process, we just don’t know right now.’
A neighbor revealed that police had been ‘continuously searching the woods behind his house and nearby golf courses.’
The medical examiner will determine if the human remains found at the property (pictured) belonged to Terrulli
Terrulli’s home on Wickapecko Drive in Ocean Township, New Jersey became a raging inferno on September 12, 2019 after authorities speculate it was set ablaze with nail polish remover
At the time of Terrulli’s disappearance, she, three of her family members and Teschner were staying inside the home (pictured)
The neighbor also said that the demolition process didn’t begin until this May, and it was he’d spotted police at Terrulli’s home since February.
Ex-convict Ronald Teschner, 49, was living with Terrulli and three of her family members at the 6000-square-foot Wickapecko Drive home while he reportedly recovered from a drug addiction.
Terrulli’s family members were away in Atlantic City when prosecutors allege that Teschner killed her on September 12.
They believe Terrulli caught Teschner stealing several personal items from her home, so he killed her and set her home on fire using nail polish remover.
Teschner then fled nearly two hours away to Passaic County in a white Jeep Cherokee that belonged to Terrulli, prosecutors said.
When authorities tracked Teschner down in the Jeep Cherokee, they reportedly discovered bank cards, two shotguns and jewelry that belonged to Terrulli.
Monmouth County prosecutors said police caught Teschner in Terreulli’s Jeep Cherokee (pictured) with two shotguns, jewelry and bank cards during his arrest
Joanie Kraft (pictured): ”I don’t think we are ever going to find her. Unless someone walks by and finds her … very rarely do you hear that the cops find these people’
After his arrest Teschner was indicted in Terrulli’s murder. Prosecutors said that he reportedly confessed to killing Terrulli to another inmate.
He is facing 16 charges related to the incident, including arson, robbery, aggravated assault and disturbing human remains.
Teschner has had multiple previous run-ins with law enforcement, including an arrest following a violent encounter with an ex-wife.
In 2007, Teschner was sentenced to 11 years in jail for breaking into his wife’s house and attempting to harm her. Court records show he confessed to busting through the home’s dry wall to reach a lock inside. His wife had a restraining order against him at the time.
Prior to his conviction, Teschner’s led police on a car chase that caused injury to another driver. After officers finally caught him, Teschner punched out a window at the police station, causing a nail from the window to lodge in an officer’s neck.
Teschner (pictured in court) was hit with 16 charges, including murder, arson, robbery, aggravated assault and disturbing human remains
Pictured: dozens of firefighters in Ocean Township arrived to Terrulli’s mansion on Wickapecko Drive to extinguish the fire
He ultimately pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault, drug possession, burglary, witness tampering and eluding.
Joanie Kraft, one of Terrulli’s sisters, told APP in a recent interview that the family was beginning to lose hope of finding her,
‘I don’t think we are ever going to find her,’ Kraft said. ‘Unless someone walks by and finds her … very rarely do you hear that the cops find these people.’
According to Kraft, Terrulli was a friend trying to help Teschner turn his life around, but quickly got fed up with his drug use.
The day before the fire, Kraft said Terrulli sent her a ‘big long text’ saying ‘she can’t wait to get rid of him and that she has to get on with her life and that she can’t keep helping everybody.’
Terrulli reportedly told her mother that she was going to kick Teschner out, but by morning she was nowhere to be found.
According to Kraft, Terrulli (pictured) was a friend of Teschner’s who was letting him stay at her home while he recovered from a drug habit
Other family members echoed a similar statement that the pair’s relationship had deteriorated before Terrulli’s disappearance.
‘He wasn’t getting out,’ the missing woman’s niece. He kept crying to her to make her feel bad so he could stay there,’ Jennifer Terrulli, the missing woman’s niece, told News 12.
Following her disappearance, Kraft and a group of volunteers have been desperately searching for Terrulli.
But the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic stifled search efforts and she feared Monmouth County police officers were also temporarily halted.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said his department has never stopped looking for Terrulli and the investigation is ongoing.
‘The pandemic has not hampered our investigative efforts whatsoever,’ said Gramiccioni.
‘Our investigation to find Jacqueline Terrulli remains active and ongoing, as does the prosecution of her alleged killer, Ronald Teschner.’