Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Surf City Police Chief John N. Casella, Jr., announced that Sherry Lee Heffernan, 55, of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, has been charged with two counts of Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) relative to the deaths of John Enders and Francoise Pitoy in Surf City on or about September 29, 2021. Heffernan was also charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d, and Unlawful Possession of Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d.
On October 3, 2021, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Officers from the Surf City Police Department responded to a residence on North 7th Street to conduct a welfare check upon the residents. When they arrived, Officers located the bodies of John Enders, 87, of Surf City, and Francoise Pitoy, 75, of Manchester; it was readily apparent they were deceased, having suffered multiple obvious stab wounds. On October 4, 2021, the Ocean County Medical Examiner performed a post-mortem examination of Mr. Enders and determined the cause of his death to be multiple stab wounds with severance of the right carotid artery and blunt force trauma; the manner of death was ruled to be a homicide. A post-mortem examination of Ms. Pitoy is scheduled for today.
A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Surf City Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that the victims were involved in a dating relationship, and that Mr. Enders was the primary owner the residence. Ms. Pitoy stayed with him at the residence regularly. “The cooperative investigation ultimately determined that Heffernan, Mr. Enders’ daughter, was responsible for the deaths of both Mr. Enders and Ms. Pitoy,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
On October 4, 2021, Heffernan was taken into custody by the Pennsylvania State Police at her residence in Landenberg. Upon her anticipated return to New Jersey, she will be lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
“This truly was a team effort in terms of the depth and comprehensiveness of this investigation. These detectives combed through the evidence to ultimately determine that Heffernan did, in fact, cause the deaths of Mr. Enders and Ms. Pitoy,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “We were able to determine very early on in the investigation that there was no immediate danger to the public. From there, these detectives went to work doing their absolute best to solve these horrific crimes. Every law enforcement officer involved this investigation has my profound gratitude,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Cassella commend the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Surf City Police Department, Long Beach Township Police Department, Stafford Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Maryland State Police, Collegeville (Pennsylvania) Police Department, North East (Maryland) Police Department, and Ocean County Motor Vehicle Services, for their collective and cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation leading to Heffernan’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.