New Jersey

Investigators Comb Through Lake in Case of New Jersey Woman Missing Since Mansion Fire

Jacqueline Terrulli, 65, has been missing since a fire ripped through her New Jersey mansion on Sept. 12

What to Know

  • An active search is underway on the Jersey shore in connection with an investigation into the disappearance of a 65-year-old NJ woman
  • Jacqueline Terrulli has been missing since a fire ripped through the mansion Sept. 12; Ronald Teschner was found 18 hours later in her car
  • He was arrested on weapons-related offenses after authorities allegedly found two shotguns in vehicle but hasn't been charged in her case

An active search is underway on the Jersey shore for what the Monmouth County prosecutor believes is the body of a 65-year-old woman who has been missing since her 6,000-square-foot mansion burned down more than two weeks ago. 

Jacqueline Terrulli hasn't been seen since a Sept. 12 fire destroyed the home she lived in with four other people. Her self-described on again, off again boyfriend, convicted felon Ronald Teschner, was arrested 18 hours after the blaze in Paterson. He was found driving the missing woman's Jeep and allegedly had two shotguns illegally in his possession. Teschner remains jailed on those charges.

Meanwhile, there's been no trace of Terrulli. Law enforcement sources tell News 4 she may have been killed. A source also says that investigators have been searching a branch of Deal Lake, bordered by the towns of Interlaken, Deal and Loch Arbour, in connection with their search for the woman. 

Investigators are using a cadaver dog in the bow of a small boat to try to catch any scent of a body that may be in the water, the source says. Earlier Thursday, several officers waded through a shallow part of the lake in a human chain formation, trying to feel for any evidence through the poor water visibility. 

Teschner has a criminal record going back 30 years. He served an 11-year prison term and has been undergoing drug and alcohol treatment, according to his lawyer. The missing woman's family, who has been searching desperately for her since the fire, says Teschner came to her, knowing that she had such a big heart, and asked her if he could stay in her home while he worked some things out. 

"She felt sorry for him, not knowing that this would happen and now she’s missing," her niece previously told News 4.

Terrulli's sister told NBC New York a familiy member saw FBI officials at the scene of Deal Lake on Thursday, the first time federal agents have been connected to the case since her disapperence two weeks ago. Prosecutors could not confirm if members of the FBI had gotten involved.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, prosecutors said.

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