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A Pennsylvania woman has been charged with two counts of murder for the fatal stabbing of her 87-year-old father and his 75-year-old girlfriend in their upscale home on the New Jersey Shore, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said this week.
Sherry Lee Heffernan, 55, was taken into custody on Tuesday. The Landenberg, Pennsylvania woman was charged on Wednesday with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and the separate charge of unlawful possession of a weapon, prosecutors said.
Officers with the Surf City Police Department were conducting a welfare check on Sunday when they discovered the bodies of John Enders, of Surf City, and Francoise Pitoy, of Manchester, according to prosecutors. Authorities estimate they had been dead since around September 29.
After performing an autopsy, the Ocean County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death for Enders to be multiple stab wounds that included “severance of the right carotid artery and blunt force trauma.” The manner of death was ruled to be homicide, investigators said. Autopsy results for Pitoy are still pending.
A joint investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies later determined that Enders and Pitoy were in a romantic relationship and Pitoy stayed at his Surf City residence regularly.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer confirmed that he cooperative investigation determined that Heffernan, was responsible for the deaths of both Enders and Pity.
“These detectives combed through the evidence to ultimately determine that Heffernan did, in fact, cause the deaths of Mr. Enders and Ms. Pitoy,” Billhimer said. “We were able to determine very early on in the investigation that there was no immediate danger to the public. From there, these detectives went to work doing their absolute best to solve these horrific crimes.”
Enders became the listed owner of the house in May, moving it from a trust, according to the Asbury Park Press. After the change, he listed the six-bedroom, four-bathroom property for sale for $2.3 million, but had since reduced it to $1,999,000, the paper reported. Enders also has a home in Pennsylvania, according to the Daily Beast.
Prosecutors have not revealed a possible motive for the murders.
Heffernan was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State Police at her home in Landenberg. She’s awaiting extradition to New Jersey; once there, she will be held at the Ocean County Jail, pending a detention hearing.
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