New Jersey

Man Arrested in Case of NJ Kidnapping Victim Girl Found in Trunk; Cops Seek 2nd Suspect

Police are still looking for a second suspect

What to Know

  • One suspect has been arrested in the carjacking and kidnapping of a man who was found tied up in an NJ car trunk; cops are looking for a 2nd
  • A girl walking her dog Thursday morning heard scratching and knocking from inside the trunk and said, "Hello?"; a man responded
  • The girl told her mother, who notified police; anyone with information on the kidnapping is asked to call 908-654-TIPS (8477)

A 24-year-old New Jersey man has been arrested on carjacking, kidnapping and other charges in connection with the abduction of a victim who was found tied up in a car trunk in Essex County Thursday after a girl heard his cries for help.

Authorities alleged Friday that JaVohn Berrouet and one other man carjacked the victim at gunpoint around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Hillside and drove him around to various banks, where they made him withdraw cash. They apparently then tied him up and left him in the trunk of a car. 

The next morning, a 17-year-old girl walking her dog on a street in Irvington heard knocking from inside the trunk. 

"I backed up because I was startled, didn't know where it came from. And so I heard it again," the girl, Kayla Rose said. "I moved closer and I was like, 'Hello?' He said, 'Hello, is there anybody that can help me?'"

Her mother, Marie Banks, called authorities, who found the man in the trunk.  

It wasn't immediately clear if he knew the suspects, nor could police say how long he was trapped in the vehicle. The girl found him nearly 12 hours after he reported being kidnapped. Temperatures dipped into the low 10s overnight in the area, though bitter wind chills in the single digits made it feel colder.

Cops were able to identify Berrouet as a potential suspect through the course of their preliminary investigation; they executed a search warrant of his home Thursday night and found a ski mask and a .45-caliber handgun. Berrouet was arrested on charges of carjacking, kidnapping and robbery, all in the first degree. He also faces first- and second-degree weapons charges. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

The second suspect remains at large. 

For Rose, the girl who found the tied-up man, it was a disturbing experience. 

Banks said her daughter told her, "It's like I was just in a horror movie."

And she told Rose she was a hero.

"As I told my daughter, she saved a life this morning because there's no telling how long this person was locked in this trunk in this frigid weather," Banks said.

The Union County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at

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