NJ Native Victim in Mysterious Highway Killings

Thomas Schlender is one of the two victims. A person posing as a police officer may be behind the murders, which happened in Mississippi

One of the victims in the Mississippi highway murders has a South Jersey connection.

Thomas Schlender, originally from Middle Township, is one of the highway shooting victims. And police think a person posing as a police officer may be behind the murders.

Schlender, 74, was scheduled for another visit to see his sister, Holly Schlender, in September. He comes every year from Nebraska. Holly, who lives in the house she and Thomas grew up in, told NBC10's Ted Greenberg that coping with her older brother's mysterious murder has been very hard.

"I feel like that 10-year-old little girl, that cried the first time when her brother left the first time to go to the service."

Schlender was found shot to death inside his red pickup truck May 8. Schlender was driving to Florida to pick up his grandson when he was murdered. Investigators tell NBC10 his murder is connected to the similar killing of a woman on a highway some 50 miles away, three days later. While authorities believe someone posing as an officer could be responsible, they have no suspects.

"I don't know why it happened," Holly said. "I can't get the vision of him in that truck, that same truck he helps me with every year he comes. . .And I will not stop praying until the person is found and brought to justice."

Numerous agencies, including the FBI, are investigating the murders.

Contact Us