Prosecutors in South Jersey charged an Egyptian native with two counts of murder days after police found the bodies of two men with their heads and hands cut off buried in the woods.
The grisly case spans several days and multiple locations around New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Yusuf Ibrahim made his first appearance via video link in a Hudson County courtroom today to be advised of the charges against him.
Authorities say Ibrahim, now of Jersey City, fatally shot two other men in the past week or so during an argument in a parked car in his hometown, severed their heads and hands, buried their bodies and dumped the car in Philadelphia.
The Attorney General's Office tells NBC10 that Ibrahim filed for a public defender. A judge continued his bail today at $3.3 million dollars.
The victims were 25- and 27-year-olds. Authorities have not released their names because their next of kin had not been notified.
Sources however identified one of the men as 27-year-old Amgad Konds. He moved to America from Egypt four years ago, friends told NBC10’s Daralene Jones.
Friends say the victims were roommates living in Southwest Philadelphia and also shared an apartment in Jersey City.
Both men were foreign nationals, though police would not say what country they were from -- one of several questions they said they could not or would not answer.
State police Lt. Col. Matthew Wilson and First Assistant Attorney General Tom Calcagni declined to explain a motive for the killings, for instance. But they said the body parts were cut off to deter identification of the victims.
The investigation came together on Feb. 7, when state police got a tip about something suspicious in rural Buena Vista Township, 40 miles southwest of Philadelphia. There, they found disturbed dirt.
And when they obtained a search warrant, they dug up the two men's bodies.
A cadaver dog helped locate their heads and hands buried separately nearby.
One of the victims was reported missing last Thursday. Police said he hadn't been seen alive in four days.
As investigators started to zero in on Ibrahim, who was wanted in a Jersey City armed robbery on Sept. 20, police in Philadelphia found another clue.
Sources tell NBC10 police found Konds’ white 1997 Mercedes Benz on the 4100 block of Pennsgrove Avenue engulfed in flames hours after his body was discovered. Officers saw a man run away from the burning car and then drive off in a Nissan Sentra with Virginia tags. Officers gave chase, but the man got away.
New Jersey authorities said the car belonged to a victim and the man trying to set it afire was Ibrahim.
He was arrested Sunday at a home in Bayonne. He faces two charges of murder and two charges of desecration of human remains. The state attorney general's office is handling the prosecution.
Ibrahim, 28, was being held at the Atlantic County Jail on Monday and couldn't be reached for comment.