2005-06-07 / Front Page

Wife arrested in gory dismemberment murder


Staff Writers

Police arrested the wife of a murdered Woodbridge man over a year after his body parts was discovered floating in three separate suitcases on Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay, the N.J. Attorney General’s Office said.

State police arrested Melanie McGuire, 32, of Brick, and charged with the first-degree murder of her husband, William T. McGuire, 39, a Woodbridge resident at the time of his death.

Authorities believe the murder took place on or about April 29, 2004, in the couple’s Woodbridge Center Plaza apartment, located across the street from Woodbridge Center mall.

“It’s part of the ongoing investigation, but it’s where we believe it took place,” said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.

McGuire had just dropped off their two young boys, ages 3 and 5, at two Metuchen day care centers, Kinder Kastle Childcare Learning Center on Middlesex Avenue and ABZ Academy on Hillside Avenue, when police stopped and arrested her at approximately 9:30 a.m. June 2 near Route 27 on Factory Street, authorities said.

McGuire was taken to the state police station in Somerville to be processed. She appeared before state Superior Court Judge Deborah J. Venezia, Middlesex County, at 3:30 p.m. later that day. Venezia set McGuire’s bail at $750,000, the amount sought by the state Division of Criminal Justice, Loriquet said.

As of June 6, McGuire was still being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center due to an administrative issue, Loriquet said.

“She still remains in custody,” he said. “Bail conditions dictate she cannot depart the state of New Jersey and she must surrender her passport. That’s what’s holding this up at this point — if she actually has a passport. But as of this hour she is still in custody.”

The ongoing investigation may yield additional arrests and charges, Loriquet said.

“We believe others were involved,” he said.

Loriquet said investigators believe Melanie McGuire, a nurse at Reproductive Medical Associates (RMA) of New Jersey in Morristown, was having an extramarital affair.

Bill Berry, an RMA spokesman, would confirm only that McGuire was an employee of the Morristown medical office.

“We will continue to support ongoing efforts to gather information related to this situation,” Berry said. “Because this [is] a continuing investigation, we are unable to comment on any other specific details at this time.”

McGuire’s motivation for allegedly murdering her husband is unknown, authorities said.

Details of the grisly murder began when a local fisherman discovered a small piece of luggage floating in the water between the fourth island and the high-rise bridge near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at 11:30 a.m. on May 5, 2004.

The man opened the suitcase and found human remains stuffed inside black plastic garbage bags. He called Virginia law enforcement, authorities said. Virginia Beach police homicide investigators responded and transported the luggage and its contents to the chief medical examiner’s Office in Norfolk, Va.

A graduate student conducting research in the area known as Fisherman’s Island, discovered the second suitcase almost a week later, on May 11, 2004.

A boater found a third suitcase on May 16, by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Investigators determined the remains found in all three suitcases belonged to one man, William McGuire, an adjunct professor and senior programmer analyst with the Department of Information Resource Development at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, authorities said. He had graduated from NJIT in 2001.

The investigation was coordinated by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police. It also included the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Woodbridge Police Department, and the Virginia Beach Police Department.

Authorities believe Melanie McGuire shot her husband on or about April 29,

chopped up his body and stuffed his remains into three suitcases, which were later deposited in the Chesapeake Bay.

McGuire’s Nissan Maxima was towed and impounded on May 8, 2004, after it had sat idle for several days at the Flamingo Motel on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, local authorities said last June.

In September 2004, Virginia authorities forwarded the investigation to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Authorities allege on April 26, 2004, three days before the murder, Melanie McGuire purchased a .38-caliber handgun from John’s Gun and Tackle in Easton, Pa., Loriquet said.

“We believe the bullets were also purchased at the same location,” he said.

The Virginia medical examiner determined McGuire sustained at least two gunshot wounds — one to the head and a second to the chest, authorities said.

A paint chip found on the tape used to seal one of the trash bags containing William McGuire’s remains was determined to be nail polish, authorities said.

Loriquet said he could not comment on whether the nail polish belonged to Melanie McGuire or if the nail polish bottle had been found.

A search warrant executed for Melanie McGuire’s Brick home on Constitution Drive was issued. A second warrant was executed for an Aqua Lane residence in Barnegat — the home of Melanie McGuire’s mother and step-father. Both warrants were approved by N.J. Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County, authorities said.

Authorities would not comment on any evidence gathered at McGuire’s Brick residence.

Stacey Schliecher, who sold McGuire the Brick home on March 28, said she found nothing disquieting about McGuire when the alleged killer and her father came to Brick to inspect her home.

“They basically were wonderful people,” she said. “I had no idea that this all occurred.”

The two women, former neighbors who attended Middletown High School together, “hit it off,” Schliecher said.

Tears welled in Schliecher’s eyes when Melanie told her she had lost her husband, Schliecher said. McGuire reached for Schliecher’s hand to comfort her.

“I remember thinking, ‘My God, what a brave woman to raise two children on her own,’ ” she said.

She described McGuire as “really smart.”

“Hopefully, it was an act of desperation,” she said of the alleged murder. “... I don’t think she was mentally ill or crazy, but like I said, I didn’t know her very well. I met her in high school and then again 15 years later.”

Melanie told Schliecher she wanted to move to Brick because she thought her son was autistic and she had heard the Brick school district offered programs for autistic children, Schliecher said.

Evidence in the case is currently before a state grand jury, Loriquet said.

If indicted, the case will go before Superior Court Judge Fred DeVesa in Middlesex County, Loriquet said.

A court date has not yet been set, he said.

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