A man convicted of manslaughter who got out of prison in 2020 has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a New Jersey mom of two young daughters who went missing before Mother’s Day and whose body was found off a highway days later in a case of domestic violence.
Gregory Mallard, of Jersey City, was charged in the death of Norelis Mendoza, 32, whose body was found in Bayonne, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.
In addition to the murder charge, he faces unlawful possession of a weapon (a vehicle), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (a vehicle), failing to dispose of human remains, desecration of human remains, and hindering and tampering with physical evidence, authorities said.
Details about how she died were not revealed. Prosecutors said the investigation was ongoing and provided no additional information.
New Jersey State Department of Corrections records show Mallard, who is in custody, had convictions for manslaughter, distributing drugs on school property, and possession dating to 2006. He was in prison from Feb. 20, 2009, to June 7, 2020, records show.
The Jersey Journal reported Mallard is a member of the Crips gang and was charged in 2008 with the murder of Lawrence Robertson.
Mendoza’s body was found off Route 440 near the Jersey City border on Wednesday. Authorities had been looking for her after the Jersey City Police Department received a missing person report. She had been last seen in Jersey City at her mother’s home at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Her fundraising site said she was a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend. She left behind two daughters, ages 1 and 3, who have cried for her every day.
“Her smile was infectious,” the site said. “She was a beacon of light and would help anyone she could.”
Mendoza’s cousin, Geovanni Molina, told NJ.com the family was devastated.
“Nothing can bring Norelis back, but there is an amazing sense of relief,” Molina said, the newspaper reported.
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