A Hazlet man was arrested yesterday and charged with the murder of a woman found in a burned out home in North Middletown in the early hours of Sept. 4, said Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Darryl E. Petlock, also known as “Isa Maajid” was arrested in Brunswick, Georgia and charged with first-degree murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and second-degree aggravated arson.
The investigation began after the Middletown Township Police Department received a 911 call on September 4 reporting a structure fire in the area of Jersey Avenue in Middletown, a small street facing Route 36.
Middletown Police Department and firefighters from multiple Middletown companies responded and, upon arrival, discovered an ongoing structural fire at 160 Jersey Avenue.
After the fire was extinguished, a deceased female was located inside the bungalow. The woman was later identified as Lynn A. Moretti, 40, of Middletown.
An investigation into her death was conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, with the assistance of the Middletown Police Department.
The investigation later revealed that Moretti’s death was a homicide and that the fire was intentionally set.
On September 9, law enforcement authorities were notified that Petlock was arrested in Brunswick, Georgia on an unrelated matter.
Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering told The Brunswick News that police found Petlock on St. Simons Island after receiving a complaint that he had allegedly been sleeping near the bathroom at Massengale Park.
Petlock reportedly was initially uncooperative with police then “started giving unsolicited information about a murder in Middletown, N.J.,” Doering told crime reporter Louie Brogdon.
Officers checked with New Jersey officials and found there had been a murder, the police chief told the Times. Then they heard a report that a man fitting Petlock’s description had allegedly taken a taxi from Jacksonville to St. Simons Island and not paid the fare, Doering told the newspaper.
Police arrested Petlock on charges of theft of services, and contacted New Jersey officials, Doering told the Times.
As a result of the continuing investigation into the incident, Petlock was arrested on September 10 by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Middletown Police Department.
Following Petlock’s arrest on September 10, Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci, Jr., J.S.C. set Petlock’s bail at $2.5 million with no 10% option.
On September 11, Petlock appeared in Glynn County Magistrate Court and agreed to waive extradition.
Petlock will be extradited to New Jersey to face the charges filed against him.