Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Jackson Township Police Chief Matthew Kunz announced that on March 8, 2023, Gerson Aguilar-Lara, 24, of Lakewood, was charged with two counts of Kidnapping, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and Robbery, in connection with a series of events that occurred in Jackson Township between March 7, 2023 and March 8, 2023.
On March 7, 2023, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a female victim seeking help; the call was subsequently disconnected. Upon callback, the victim was able to provide her name and basic information before the connection was again terminated. The Jackson Township Police Department was able to ascertain the address of the victim as a residence on North Chapel Road in Jackson. Through investigation, responding officers determined that the victim and her infant child had been taken from the residence against their will. Further investigation revealed that Aguilar-Lara, who was in a dating relationship with the victim and father of the infant, had forced the victim and her child into a Chevrolet Equinox and then fled the area.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Jackson Township Police Department put out a description of the vehicle, and utilized various investigative techniques to locate the victims as well as Aguilar-Lara. On March 8, 2023, at approximately 3:15 a.m., the Toms River Police Department observed Aguilar-Lara’s vehicle as it turned into a parking lot on Route 37 in Toms River. As the vehicle came to a stop, Aguilar-Lara fled on foot; he was taken into custody by officers of the Toms River Township Police Department shortly thereafter. Neither the victim nor her infant child were harmed.
Aguilar-Lara was transported to Jackson Township Police Headquarters, where he was processed and he is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Kunz acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Offenders Unit, Jackson Township Police Department, Jackson Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Lakewood Township Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, and New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Aguilar-Lara’s apprehension.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.