A poster displayed at the middle school during a February, 2010 memorial event for murdered teacher Jonelle Melton. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The Monmouth County Prosecutor says his office is “closing in on” the killer of Jonelle Melton, a Red Bank Middle School teacher murdered in her Neptune apartment almost six years ago.
In an unusual move, Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement released Monday afternoon that his office has “recently developed new leads that make us confident that those responsible for this senseless crime will be brought to justice,” and appealed to the public for help.
Here’s the full statement:
Investigators are closing in on the person responsible for the brutal 2009 murder of Jonelle Melton, a beloved Red Bank teacher who was found beaten to death inside her West Sylvania Avenue apartment. Monmouth County CrimeStoppers wants to make sure the public is aware a chance still remains for anyone with information about the case to come forward and possibly collect the $10,000 in reward money being offered, announced Kevin J. Burke, Jr., Chairman of CrimeStoppers of Monmouth County.
“Our Office has worked tirelessly to solve this vicious crime and have recently developed new leads that make us confident that those responsible for this senseless crime will be brought to justice. We believe that there are people who have information about this murder who have not yet come forward. Jonelle Melton deserves justice and those who knew and loved her deserve answers.” said Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Seventh Grade teacher Jonelle Melton was found dead inside her West Sylvania Avenue apartment after a family member went to check on her welfare when she did not respond to phone calls and she failed to arrive at her job at Red Bank Middle School. The 33-year-old school teacher was looking forward to moving from the seventh grade classrooms to a new job as the fifth grade teacher at Red Bank Middle School, but a brutal encounter ended her life.
“Somebody knows what happened to Jonelle Melton and holds a key piece of information about Jonelle’s murder. The Prosecutor’s Office has developed new leads in this case, but they believe that the public has more information that will help them prosecute those who are responsible for ending the life of a beautiful young woman. Crime Stoppers has offered $10,000, no questions asked. We don’t need your name. But we do need the information,” said Burke.
“This murder investigation will come to a close very soon due to new information that has recently been developed. Anyone with information should know that the clock is ticking and it’s time to step forward and do the right thing. Jonelle deserves justice and those who miss her each and every day are entitled to peace knowing that whoever is responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” said Gramiccioni.
Citizens with information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-671-4400, which is a confidential telephone tip line; they can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com
The New Jersey Education Association had previously offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Melton’s murder.
The prosecutor’s office gave no indication of how it is “closing in on” a suspect or who it is.
Melton’s estranged husband, Michael Melton, who was also a teacher at the school, discovered her body in her Neptune City apartment. He was reported to have initiated divorce proceedings seven months earlier, citing irreconcilable differences, but his lawyer told a reporter that the couple had continued as friends.