Man Arrested for Murder of Hammonton Woman, Son: Police

Wenonah, N.J. man faces murder charges

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Patrick Latko was arrested on charges of murdering Diane Patterson, 64, and her son Ryan Patterson, 29.

    A Deptford Township man was arrested Wednesday in the double murder of a mother and her adult son that rocked a quiet South Jersey community.

    Patrick Latko, 32, was arrested minutes before 5 p.m. at his Wenonah home, sources said.

    Latko allegedly stabbed 64-year-old Diana Patterson and her 29-year-old son Ryan Patterson to death inside their Hammonton home four weeks ago, according to prosecutors.

    Latko faces two counts of murder and weapons charges.

    He allegedly used a knife that was found in a Hammonton yard three days after the murders to kill the Pattersons, prosecutors said.

    Earlier this month authorities said the stabbing deaths were likely perpetrated by someone who knew at least one of the victims.

    "I am confident in being able to say this was not a random act of violence and the citizens of Hammonton should be made aware of that," said Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel.

    The Major Crimes Unit arrived at the Patterson house on Madison Avenue at about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 to find the Pattersons dead with stab wounds.

    Ryan had apparently called 9-1-1 around 5:30 that morning as the crime was unfolding, sources told NBC Philadelphia.

    Ryan was found in a bedroom while his mother was found in the kitchen near the back door, sources said.

    An autopsy report revealed that both victims died from multiple sharp force trauma wounds. Both of their deaths were ruled homicides -- Ryan suffered more than 20 stab wounds and Diana more than 10, investigators said.

    A love triangle was being investigated as a possible motive for the murders, sources said.

    Neighbors told NBC Philadelphia that Diana and her son were the only people living in the house.

    “I don’t know who would even do that,” Ryan’s ex-girlfriend Amanda Dirienzi said. “His mom and him are such sweethearts. They would give you the shirt off their back.”

    Ryan was a popular motocross driver in South Jersey and hundreds gathered at a vigil for him and his mom at the Atco Raceway.

    "Ryan was true moto to the bone as he always talked about everything from bike setups to the track and everything in between," said a tribute posted to MXPTV.com. "You can always see him at the track helping other riders out and throw out that million dollar smile when you run into him. He’ll be deeply missed here at MXPTV and at all motocross tracks around. RIP Ryan."

    Another candlelight vigil for the Pattersons was planned for this Friday night at 8 p.m. outside their home.

    Diana had two other grown sons and a daughter, according to friends.

    Neighbors of the Pattersons were scared that such a horrific crime could happen in their normally quiet neighborhood.

    "It’s very scary and sad to know they lost their lives so horribly," neighbor Lynda Paulus said.

    Latko's bail was set at $2 million.

    Hammonton Mayor Stephen DiDonato released the following statement regarding Latko's arrest

    "Hammonton has always been a safe place and will continue to be a safe place. This crime of passion was an isolated incident and the tragic loss of two of our residents is felt by everyone in our town.

    I would like to thank the Hammonton Police Department, Atlantic County Prosecutors Office and all of the agencies and officials that had a hand in bringing the person who did this to justice."


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