Ocean Township

Police: Man Killed NJ Woman, Dumped Body, Set Her Mansion on Fire

Prosecutors say Ronald Teschner killed Terrulli, set her mansion on fire and sold her property to buy heroin

What to Know

  • NJ woman Jacqueline Terrulli has been missing since a fire ripped through her mansion Sept. 12
  • Her self-described on again, off again boyfriend, Ronald Teschner, was found 18 hours later in her car
  • Teschner has been charged with her murder, prosecutors announced Wednesday

The former boyfriend of a woman who went missing in September as a fire tore through her Ocean Township mansion has been charged with her murder, months after police say they found him sitting in her Jeep filled with stolen jewelry, shotguns and bank cards from her home.

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.

On Wednesday, Monmouth County prosecutors announced Teschner had been charged with Terrulli's murder, as well as various robbery, arson and theft charges. In a police affidavit, it is alleged that Teschner confessed his involvement in Terrulli's disappearance to an acquaintance.

Police say Teschner told the acquaintance he overheard Terrulli on the phone saying she wanted him out of the house, so he was plotting to steal items and sell them.

"However, J.T. caught defendant stealing items and threatened to call police. At that point, defendant 'dealt with' J.T. Defendant then wrapped J.T.’s body in a tarp, put the body in a vehicle and brought the body somewhere to hide it," the affidavit says.

Police allege that Teschner then returned to the house, loaded Terrulli's Jeep with items and then lit the house on fire using nail polish remover. They say he then drove upstate where he sold some items, tried to trade items from Terrulli's landscaping business to settle a debt, and bought heroin.

Meanwhile, there's been no trace of Terrulli. 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. 

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.

As of today, the remains of Terrulli have not been located.

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