Suspect arrested in death of Brick, N.J. man

Trupal B. Patel

A suspect was arrested Feb. 25, in the death of Indian-American Trupal B. Patel, 29, whose body was found in Shark River Park in Wall Township in New Jersey, Feb. 22. A friend had reported Patel missing Feb. 9. His body was found by a park ranger collecting litter.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni had announced county and local detectives were actively investigating the murder and just three days later, nabbed 20-year old Joseph C. Villani, of Ocean Township, who was charged with first degree murder, first degree felony murder, first degree robbery, second degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and second degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

A vehicle Patel had been driving prior to his disappearance was discovered abandoned on an Asbury Park street on that same day that his body was found Feb. 22. That information prompted the Asbury Park Police Department to join the murder investigation, a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Villani made his first appearance Feb. 25 and will have a detention hearing March 2, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman, reported.

Patel’s funeral arrangements were being handled by India Funeral Home of Raritan, N.J.

While no motive was given for the murder by the authorities, news reports said Patel had been arrested twice in the past for drug possession and distribution, once in July 2015 and again in May 2016.

No motive for Patel’s murder has been given by authorities and the investigation continues despite Villani’s arrest.