An arrest has been made in the murder of a young man whose body was found after going missing last week in Bridgeton, New Jersey.
Miguel Perez, 21, of Bridgeton, is charged with the murder of 23-year-old Jonathan Morris, also of Bridgeton.
Morris’ body was discovered Monday in Hopewell Township.
Get Philly local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Philadelphia newsletters.
Perez is charged with murder, weapons offenses, desecration of human remains, evidence tampering, hindering, obstruction, escape, and receiving stolen property. He has been lodged at the Cumberland County Jail.
Morris was reported missing on Friday. He spoke with his mother Stephanie Pernell on Thursday while working as a support professional at a developmental home in Sicklerville, New Jersey. Morris had plans to go to the gym that night.
Pernell said she then got a call from police early Friday morning.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
"They told me they found my car in front of the woods with blood in it," she said.
The car, a gray 2012 BMW, had been found running while at the intersection of Barretts Run and Archie Platt roads. Morris was nowhere in sight however.
That same BMW had been seen on surveillance video hours earlier Friday around 3 a.m. traveling on Cottage Avenue in Bridgeton with four people inside. Family members say they don't believe Morris, who stood 6-foot-6, was driving the car at that time.
"He sits with his seat all the way back because he's so tall," Morris' father, Jonathan Morris Sr., told NBC10. "And whoever it was, you could see him up, towards the steering wheel. And that's all we had got."
On Monday, detectives identified Perez as a suspect in the investigation and he was arrested at his home. A short time later, police found Morris’ remains covered in snow approximately 15 feet from the roadway on Archie Platt Road.
Investigators determined Perez shot and killed Morris inside his car on January 28. Perez then drove to Archie Platt Road where he disposed of Morris’ body and abandoned the car, investigators said. He then traveled to his home where he allegedly tried to dispose of evidence.
Morris' family later released a statement.
“The family of Johnathan Morris Jr. would like to thank all who came out to support the family in the search for Jonathan," they wrote. "We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time as we grieve our loved one.”