A New Jersey man, supposedly caught red-handed swiping his girlfriend’s jewelry, later killed her, dumped her body, and torched her home, prosecutors said.
Ronald Teschner allegedly told an acquaintance he “dealt with” his girlfriend, Jaqcueline Terrulli, after she caught him lifting her jewelry, but police have yet to find the woman’s body. Terrulli was last seen alive in mid-September.
Teschner, 49, has been charged with murder, robbery, arson, concealing human remains and several counts of theft in connection to the disappearance and suspected death of Terrulli.
Police found the woman’s 6,000-square-foot Ocean Township home “completely engulfed in flames” shortly after 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 12. After extinguishing the blaze, police determined that Teschner and Terrulli — as well as the woman’s Jeep Cherokee — were missing.
Surveillance footage captured her Jeep leaving Monmouth County three minutes before the fire was reported to dispatchers, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
The next morning, police found Teschner sitting in Terrulli’s SUV in Paterson, New Jersey. Police retrieved a number of Terrulli’s belongings from the vehicle, including two shotguns, bank cards, a Rolex watch and earrings.
Teschner was later arrested, but police remain stumped as to where Terrulli's body could be. Prior to her disappearance, police said, Terrulli was supposedly irked by Teschner’s drug and alcohol use, and tried to throw him out of the house.
Teschner later told an acquaintance that he planned to rob his girlfriend while she slept, after he overheard her say she wanted to kick him out, authorities said. However, the woman caught Teschner in the act and threatened to call police. He then told the man he had “dealt with” Terrulli, stuffed her in a tarp, jumped in a vehicle and “brought the body somewhere to hide it,” the probable cause affidavit stated.
Teschner allegedly returned to Terrulli’s home, packed her Jeep with some of her belongings and used nail polish remover to ignite the fire in the master bedroom on the first floor. He then sold her belongings for cash and bought heroin with the proceeds, police said. Teschner allegedly stole more than $5,000 worth of property.
In the Jeep, detectives also found chainsaws, leaf blowers and a Weedwacker belonging to Terrulli, who owned a landscaping business. Two other witnesses later told police that Teschner tried passing off Terrulli’s stolen landscaping equipment in an attempt to “settle a debt” with them.
“I am very pleased that the killer of Jacqueline Terrulli has been charged. My heart goes out to the victim’s family and I commend them for being so patient during this long and arduous investigation,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement.
Crimestoppers and Terrulli’s family are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the New Jersey woman’s whereabouts.
“The worst part is not knowing,” attorney Jef Henninger told Oxygen.com. “And that search for answers is really tough. Obviously they want to bring her home; they want to give her a proper a burial.”
He described Terrulli as a "rock” in her family. He said the missing woman is a “very kind person,” with a big heart who fed all the stray cats in her neighborhood. Teschner was “down on his luck,” and needed a “helping hand when he met Terrulli, Henninger said. The couple’s relationship was described as “on-again, off-again,” according to prosecutors.
“Jackie was the type of person to give somebody a chance and to help them out when probably other people wouldn’t,” Henninger said.
The lawyer stated that a handful of other family members also lived with Terrulli at the time of her disappearance. No one was at home at the time of the fire. However, the property was totally destroyed in the blaze, he said.
“The family lost everything,” Henninger explained. “They not only lost their sister, or in the mother’s case her daughter, but at the same time they’ve lost most of, if not all of their possessions. To have that amount of loss was really tough on them.”
Teschner plead guilty to marijuana possession in 2004 and to another drug charge in 2001, online court records show.
Teschner’s next scheduled court appearance is Dec. 17, according to the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office.
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