New Jersey

Man Charged With Murder in Case of Body Found in NJ Park

What to Know

  • The victim's body was found in Shark River Park by a ranger.
  • Investigators believe he was killed in Ocean Township.
  • If convicted of first-degree murder, Joseph C. Villani would face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum of 30 years.

A man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of a man whose body was discovered in a New Jersey park, prosecutors said Saturday. 

Joseph C. Villani, 20, of Ocean Township, faces several charges in the death of Trupal Patel, 29, of Brick, local prosecutors said. 

Patel's body was found Wednesday in Shark River Park by a ranger who was collecting litter, prosecutors said. 

He had been reported missing by a friend on Feb. 9. Investigators believe he was killed in an Ocean Township residence, prosecutors said. 

Patel's vehicle was found abandoned on a street in Asbury Park, prosecutors said. 

Prosecutor's didn't say how Patel was killed or give a motive. 

Villani is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, robbery and possession of a firearm. If convicted of first-degree murder or felony murder, he would face a minimum sentence of 30 years and a possible life sentence.

It wasn't clear if Villani had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.  He was held pending a detention hearing March 2. 

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