UNION CITY -- Investigators have confirmed that the two Union City residents whose body parts were found in multiple trash bags along a road in Linden, N.J. last week were murdered in a Union City apartment.
Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said his office assumed primary responsibility for the investigation earlier this week.
“We are still working with the Union County Prosecutors Office and the Linden Police Department,” he said.
DeFazio said that both Lazaro Calero, 49, and Maria Torres, 48, were strangled. But he declined to give further details about the method of strangulation.
After being strangled, the two were dismembered inside their first-floor apartment near Fourth Street and Bergenline Avenue, DeFazio confirmed.
“There were apparent blood stains found in the apartment,” said DeFazio. He said there was also evidence that someone attempted to clean up after the murders.
“There does not appear to be forced entry,” said DeFazio. “We do not believe that this is gang or drug related.” He added that they do not believe there was evidence of sexual assault.
The bodies were in several separate pieces, cut limb from limb, when they were found. “We believe they were mutilated in order to effect their disposal,” said DeFazio.
But motive for the murders has not been established and investigators are still unsure why the bodies were left miles away from where they were killed.
Detectives do not believe more than a few days passed between the murders and the discovery of the bodies in Linden.
“We’re still looking for anyone who has information,” said DeFazio. “Even if they think it’s unimportant.”
Torres was believed to be renting space in the apartment to Calero.
Anybody who saw something that may relate to the ongoing police investigation should contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Squad at (201) 915-1345 .