Friday, 14 July 2017
11-year-old Keansburg girl was stabbed to death, prosecutor says
Andreas Erazo, 18, who is accused of killing AbbieGail "Abbie" Smith, 11, was arrested on murder and weapons charges hours after the little girl's body was found in a rear area of the apartment complex where they both lived. He appeared in Superior Court Friday afternoon and was ordered to remain in jail until a detention hearing on Wednesday.
At the end of the brief court hearing, attended by nearly two dozen of AbbieGail's relatives and family friends, her mother jumped up from her seat and yelled at Erazo as he was being led away in handcuffs.
As she was escorted out of the courtroom after the proceeding, she shouted, "He took my one and only daughter away from me."
Erazo, who said he was born in Orlando, Florida and is a U.S. citizen, was dressed in a green jail-issued jumpsuit and had his hands shackled to his waist. He kept his head bent and his eyes down and away from the audience for most of the proceeding.
Superior Court Judge Richard English described the level of charges against Erazo at the beginning of the proceeding, so it was not until Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Decker addressed the teen that many of AbbieGail's loved ones learned how she died.
When they heard Decker say she was stabbed to death, several of them moaned, wept or sunk their heads into their hands.
Decker said she was killed Wednesday, the night she went missing.
Speaking after court, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Erazo was arrested Thursday afternoon at his apartment, where he lived with a relative and possibly his mother, and did not put up resistance.
"It's an incredibly tragic day that we lost a lovely 11-year-old girl, a fifth-grader, beloved in her tight-knit community in Keansburg," Gramiccioni said.
He said the killing occurred at or near Erazo's apartment but prosecutors don't yet have a motive. Gramiccioni said he couldn't confirm or deny whether she was sexually assaulted; he said he is waiting for the complete autopsy report from the medical examiner. He wouldn't say how many times AbbieGail was stabbed. He also wouldn't say whether investigators recovered the weapon.
Gramiccioni wouldn't say why the girl left her apartment or how she and Erazo came to cross paths that day.
Gramiccioni said the two families weren't friends but he did not know whether they knew each other.
AbbieGail's body was found Thursday in a rear area of the Hancock Arms apartments, where she lived with her mother.
Abbiegail's mother first reported her missing Wednesday night. During the course of the search, the prosecutor's office was called in to assist early Thursday morning. Her body was found shortly after 10 a.m. Friday.
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