A young New Jersey mother has been found beaten to death inside a friend’s home she was looking after over the weekend, with the victim’s five-year-old son and another boy present.
The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office and the Woodbury City Police Department are investigating the death of 26-year-old Shawneeq Carter, of Camden, whose body was discovered at around 7.30pm on Saturday inside a house on Hopkins Street in Woodbury.
Shawneeq had been house-sitting for a friend who lived at the home, and who was not in the Woodbury area when Shawneeq was found murdered.
Murdered: Shawneeq Carter, a 26-year-old mom from New Jersey, was discovered beaten to death by her 5-year-old son (pictured right) inside the home she had been looking after
Crime scene: The gruesome find was made inside this house on Hopkins Street in Woodbury, New Jersey, on Saturday evening
An autopsy conducted by the Gloucester County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of Shawneeq’s death was blunt force trauma and the manner of death was homicide.
The woman’s cousin, Pastor Derrick Parks, told NBC10 Shawneeq’s five-year-old son and another young relative were inside the house on Hopkins Street at the time of her brutal murder.
Sean Carter, Shawneeq’s father, revealed to 6ABC that his grandson and the other boy were asleep and did not hear anything as his daughter was being beaten to death.
The five-year-old later found his mother’s lifeless body lying on the floor, and was so traumatized and scared to leave her side that he waited until the next day to call for help, according to Mr Carter.
Shawneeq (left and right) lived in Camden but traveled to Woodbury to house-sit for a friend
Beaten to death: An autopsy determined the cause of Shawneeq’s death was blunt force trauma
According to Mr Carter, the only thing that was taken from Shawneeq was her cellphone.
Police have been reluctant to share details about the circumstances of the homicide. It is not clear if there were signs of forced entry at the house, or whether Shawneeq was targeted.
There has been an outpouring of support on social media for Shawneeq and her son from relatives and friends, who remembered her as a great mom with a vibrant personality.
As of Wednesday morning, police have made no arrests in the house-sitter’s killing, and no suspects have been identified.
Shawneeq’s 5-year-old son did not witness his mother’s murder because he was asleep, but he later found her body and stayed at her side for hours