Following a labor intensive investigation that covered three states, involved nearly 80 interviews and review of telephone records involving hundreds of phone calls, the Union County Homicide Task Force arrested the following individuals:
- Rashawn Bond, 33, was currently in custody in the Essex County Jail
- Jamel Lewis, 31, was arrested at his residence in Alexandria Virginia
- Robert Harris, 25, is currently in custody in Philadephia.
- Sharif Torres, 21, was arrested at his residence in Philadelphia.
Each is charged with Felony Murder, Kidnapping, Robbery, Gun Charges and Arson, said Romankow. Bail was set at $1.5 million for Bond, Harris and Torres. Lewis is being held on $2 million bail.The arrests took place over the weekend.
Tanya Worthy of Green Brook was discovered inside her two-door convertible BMW on Neck Lane in Elizabeth. Authorities were called to the scene because of the fire, said Romankow.
According to the investigation, it appears that Worthy was involved in a relationship with one or more of the defendants and had proceeds obtained from criminal activity in her possession, said Romankow.
For those reasons, investigators believe Worthy was targeted.
The year-long investigation was a true representation of the kind of labor intensive work that the Homicide Task Force is capable of, said Romankow. Launched in September 2008 the Homicide Task Force was created in response to a rise in unsolved homicides throughout Union County. So far this year the Homicide Task Force has solved eight of the county's 12 homicides and expects additional arrests in the coming weeks. The Task Force has also solved six cold case investigations since its inception.
On this most recent investigation, the Task Force received tremendous support from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Philadelphia Police Department. The Green Brook Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office also assisted in the early stages of the investigation.
Prosecutor Romankow commended Task Force Detective Jose Vendas for his tireless pursuit during the investigation.
"We continue to work for the victims and their families to ensure that anyone who commits murder gets the punishment they deserve," said Romankow. "People in Union County should know that we go to great lengths to ensure that each suspect is captured."