Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio announced today that Joseph Melillo, 44, of Newark has been arrested for the murder of Therese Diggins, 58, also of Newark.
On Nov. 23, Newark Police located a female in the Passaic River in the area of 996 Route 21. Following an autopsy, it was determined Diggins had injuries that resulted in her death being ruled a homicide. The cause of death was a stab wound to the neck and blunt force trauma to the head.
Detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force arrested Melillo and charged him with murder. Both the victim and the suspect were living in Newark but were homeless at the time.
Bail was set at $1 million by the Honorable Sebastian Lombardi, J.S.C.
Melillo’s first court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow before the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, J.S.C.
These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty in a court of law.
No other information is available at this time.