‘We got him!’ Neighbor charged with murder of 11-year-old Abbie Smith from Keansburg
KEANSBURG — An arrest has been made in the in death of a missing 11-year-old from Monmouth County.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni charged Andreas Erazo with murder and weapons offenses in the death of Abbiegail "Abbie" Smith. Erazo is expected to make a court appearance on Friday afternoon in Freehold Borough.
"We got him!!!" the prosecutor's office wrote in a Facebook post Friday.
Erazo, 18, lived in an upstairs apartment, the prosecutor said. The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office is expected to conduct an autopsy of the young girl Friday to determine the cause and manner of her death.
Gramiccioni did not disclose any additional details about Erazo's arrest.
Abbie's body was found Thursday morning “in the immediate vicinity” of her home at the Hancock Arms Apartments on Hancock Street as police searched for her around 10:45 a.m., according to Gramiccioni.
He said the remains were found in an area behind the two-story apartment building but would not disclose an exact location.
The prosecutor had described it as an "isolated crime."
A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night for the Bolger Middle School student where counselors will be available for students on Friday, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News.
Charles Webster, spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office, told New Jersey 101.5 the apartment building continues to remain off limits to residents late Thursday as investigators search apartments.
“We are going to turn over every rock in each apartment,” Webster said.
Keansburg police had issued an alert via Facebook to locate the girl, who was reported missing around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, an hour after she left her home.
Willy Williams, a family friend, said he had seen Abbie on the apartment building steps just hours before she was reported missing.
"Me and her brother, Chad, were hanging out. She hugged him and waved goodbye to me," he said Thursday, before news of the arrest.
"I'm never going to forget her. She was so sweet, and I hope they find the person who killed her."
Glen Araujio, who lives in the apartment next door, said Abbie was "out almost every night" playing.
"The kid would run around restless through the whole building, upstairs, downstairs, back and forth."
Vinny Iannicelli, 11, had just wrapped up 5th grade with Abbie.
"It's heartbreaking because she was a friend."
His mother, Jennifer, said Thursday she was keeping both sons by her side until more answers were revealed.
"Who's going to want to bring their kids here knowing that they have to watch their back everywhere they go?"
The area is a mix of residential and retail not far from the Henry Hudson Bike Trail.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Police and the Prosecutor’s Office are investigating this. We have two great law enforcement agencies behind this,” Keansburg Mayor George Hoff told New Jersey 101.5 on Thursday.
This is the first reported homicide in Keansburg since 2012, when two men were killed in separate incidents.
Prosecutors ask anyone with information about this case to call the Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443.
The Associated Press and Dino Flammia contributed to this report
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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