The body of a New Jersey mother who has been missing since March and had been shot eight times last year has been found, and a friend of hers is one of two people now facing first-degree murder charges in her death.
Authorities say the body of Tyrita Julius, 41, was recovered Tuesday, though they did not detail the circumstances of the discovery. According to NJ.com, Julius was found wrapped in a tarp, buried in one of the suspect's backyards.
In announcing Julius' body had been found Wednesday, prosecutors said her friend, Jennifer Sweeney, 33, and Andre Harris, 32, had been arrested on charges of first-degree murder, desecration of human remains and tampering with physical evidence. Harris' connection to Julius wasn't immediately clear.
Julius had not been seen since March 8, when Sweeney supposedly dropped her off at the Long Branch train station, her mother told authorities. The mother reported Julius missing when she didn't come home.
"Significant efforts were made to bring us to the discovery we all feared – Tyrita Julius died a tragic death. Tyrita was not dropped off at the Long Branch Train Station, instead Tyrita was murdered,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a statement.
Prosecutors did not elaborate on how Julius may have died.
Her disappearance came four months after she and her 15-year-old daughter were shot in their car by a gunman who talked with them shortly before the shooting, authorities said at the time. Julius was hit eight times in the torso and spent months in the hospital; her daughter was hit in the wrist and grazed in the face.
Friends told the Asbury Park Press that Julius had been living in fear since the shooting.
The arrests this week came after police were seen searching Harris' home in Long Branch, the Asbury Park Press reports. Prosecutors didn't reveal what they found but said that the discovery led to the charges.
Attorney information for Sweeney and Harris wasn't immediately available.