Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced today that the Grand Jury returned an indictment on 9/27/16 against Jesus E. Roman, 25, and Carlos Lagunes, 24, for Murder, Felony Murder, Burglary in the second degree and Robbery in the first degree.   The grand jury also returned an indictment against Evelyn Rodriguez, 47, for second degree Hindering Apprehension.

The indictments stem from the death of Miguel Rivera, 45, of Lakewood, New Jersey. The joint investigation by the OCPO Major Crimes Unit and Lakewood Township Police overcame defendant Jesus Roman’s mother’s attempts to hinder the investigation and developed evidence implicating the two Sussex County men in the homicide of Mr. Rivera.

Miguel Rivera’s body was found at his Laguna Lane home on Christmas Eve by Lakewood Police Officers who responded to his residence as part of a well-being check. Police had received a call from Rivera’s family reporting that they had not heard from him for several days. When officers entered the home at around 8 pm on December 24th, they found Rivera’s body lying face down in the doorway area of his bedroom. He appeared to have suffered trauma to his head.

On 1/4/2016, Carlos Lagunes was located and arrested at a Sussex Pizzeria by Troopers from the New Jersey State Police, Sussex Barracks acting on an arrest warrant obtained by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit. A short time later, Jesus Roman was arrested at his residence, located at 3B Church Street, Sussex, N.J., by OCPO Major Crimes Det. John Murphy and Lakewood PD Ptl. Chase Messer.

Jesus Roman and Carlos Lagunes were both charged with one (1) count of Murder and one (1) count of Burglary in the death of Miguel Rivera. The Honorable Wendel Daniels, set bail at the time for both Roman and Lagunes at $1,000,000 cash only. Both remain incarcerated since the time of their arrest.

Also during the course of the investigation, Jesus Roman’s mother, Evelyn Rodriguez, 46, was taken into custody on December 29th, 2015 at the New Jersey State Police Barracks in Sussex (Augusta), NJ and charged with one count of Hindering. Her bail was set at $250,000, with a 10% option.

OCPO Senior Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento is the prosecuting attorney. The lead investigators in the case are OCPO Major Crimes Unit Det. Ray Gardner and Lakewood Police Ptl. Mike Mooney. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI processed the crime scene and provided evidence collection and preservation throughout the murder investigation.

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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