FREEHOLD — Hundreds of people gathered to mourn a woman found dead in her home earlier in the week.

Police and Monmouth County prosecutors said 48-year-old Denise Bartone was found dead Monday in her Freehold Township home, and husband Kenneth Bartone was later found in the Raritan River "dead of an apparent suicide."

A parish assistant estimated that about 700 people gathered for Saturday's service at the Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine in Freehold.

Monsignor Sam Sirianni spoke of the Catholic belief in life after death. He told the crowd, which included the couple's three teenage daughters, that "We believe that on that tragic morning, when Denise entered into the mystery of death and opened her eyes on the other side, she saw the Lord, Jesus."

Sirianni told the Asbury Park Press that we may never get the answer to why this happened. "Just ask: what can I do for others," he told the newspaper.

Denise Bartone was a former chairwoman of the Freehold Township Educational Foundation.

Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Chris Swendeman said Denise Bartone's death was a homicide and the investigation is still "active and ongoing." Swendeman said the investigation team is awaiting lab results and the completed report from the medical examiner before releasing additional information.

A GoFundMe page created by friends of the couple's thee daughters continues to accept donations.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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