Home Uncategorized Westville man arrested, charged with 2016 murder in Deptford

Westville man arrested, charged with 2016 murder in Deptford

Michael Zappley, 63, of Westville, was charged with multiple offenses, including first-degree murder, on Thursday.

Michael Zappley, 63, of Westville was arrested on March 12 on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree desecration of remains and fourth-degree tampering with evidence, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office.

On June 15, 2016, Miguel Martinez III was reported as a missing person to the Deptford Township Police Department. Believing that Martinez’s disappearance was suspicious in nature, the Deptford Township Police Department initiated an exhaustive criminal investigation, in close cooperation with the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office and multiple law enforcement agencies.

Ongoing investigative efforts led to establishing Martinez’s alleged murder during June 2016 at A&J Auto Body in Deptford. During the week of Feb. 3, 2020, multiple

search warrants were executed in Deptford Township, including a wooded area adjacent to Fox Run Road. At the Fox Run Road location, human remains, alleged to be those of Miguel Martinez III, were recovered.

On March 11, Zappley disclosed his direct involvement in Martinez’s murder at

A&J Auto Body, as well as his participation in the removal, desecration and concealment of Martinez’s body, the remains of which are alleged to have been recovered at the Fox Run Road site.

Zappley was processed and lodged at the Salem County Correctional Facility, pending court action.

“Zappley’s arrest was a direct result of exemplary police work, professionalism and never giving up, providing a sense of clarity and justice for members of the

Martinez family,” Gloucester County Acting Prosecutor Christine Hoffman said.

Hoffman commends the Investigative staff at the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Chief Kevin Pancoast and the Deptford Township Police Department, the New

Jersey State Police, New Jersey Department of Corrections, West Deptford Police, Westville Police, Washington Township Police, Harrison Township Police, Monroe Township Police, Woodbury City Police, Rowan University Police, Deptford Township Fire Department, and Washington Township Fire Department.

“Through the tenacious efforts of our Detectives and the Gloucester

County Prosecutor’s Office, we can finally bring closure to a family struggling for answers,” Deptford Police Chief Kevin Pancoast said. “Our community is a safer place as a result of our ongoing law enforcement partnerships, including this collaborative investigation.”

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of their rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and state law.

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