On the run, missing, unsolved: No closure for NJ’s top mysteries of 2016
Families are still grieving. Communities are still on edge.
It may be a new year, but the top mysteries of 2016 are still on the minds and hearts of investigators and victims' loved ones.
Here's a look at the three unsolved cases from 2016 that will likely continue to hold our attention in the weeks and months ahead.
Who killed Kelly Vaughn Chalkley?Hit-run driver never identified
Kelly Vaughn Chalkley, 58, was walking her dog in West Milford on Nov. 7 when she was run over by a pickup truck in the parking lot of Mount Laurel Park on Warwick Turnpike.
Chalkley’s dead body was found by her husband, who had gone out looking for her that evening after their dog came home without her.
Police know it was a pickup truck and that it was dark colored because the driver left behind pieces of the vehicle that fell off in the impact.
The family has upped the reward to $20,000 for information leading to an arrest.
"We cannot begin to heal as a family until we have the answers we so desperately need," the family said last month in a statement.
"To the driver involved in this accident, we are pleading for you to come forward and rid yourself of the tremendous guilt we imagine you are bearing.
“We assure you the weight on your shoulders will be lifted once you free yourself from the burden you have been carrying."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office at 877-370-PCPO or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hunt for Jeremiah MonellWanted in wife's killing
Jeremiah Monel has been accused of killing his estranged wife, Tara O’Shea-Watson, 35, in her home on Dec. 19.
Police found his blue Chevrolet pickup truck a day later in the area of his home in Lawrence in Cumberland County. But the suspect himself has vanished.
Authorities have offered a reward of $3,500 for information leading to his capture.
Family and friends of O’Shea’s told 6ABC Action News that Monell slit her throat in front of their 12-year-old son. Authorities have not confirmed that account.
Police were called by a neighbor of O'Shea's.
A childhood friend of O’Shea-Watson said Monell had been served with divorce papers on the day police say he killed her.
Monell is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, about 140 pounds. He was last seen driving the 1994 blue Chevrolet S10 pickup. State Police have asked anyone with information about Monell’s whereabouts to call 856-785-0036.
Where is Sarah Stern?
Sarah Stern, a 19-year-old aspiring artist, disappeared in early December.
Her 1994 Oldsmobile was found Dec. 3 parked on the Route 35 bridge over the Shark River Inlet. And that was the only trace of her, despite searches by hundreds of volunteers and the State Police.
Was it suicide? Was it an abduction? Did she run away?
“We are gonna keep searching and we are not giving up till Sarah is home," her father, Michael Stern, told New Jersey 101.5. "Our hearts are heavy with sadness because Sarah is still missing and everyday she is not found it get harder to face each day without her. Everyone loves Sarah."
Anyone with information about her disappearance should call the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 800-671-4400 or text “Monmouth” to 274637.