Arrest made in 2013 double murder

By Kenny Walter

LONG BRANCH—A city man is charged with two-counts of first-degree murder and an additional weapons charge stemming from the 2013 death of two city residents in a Sairs Avenue apartment.

Carlos I. Menjivar, 22, appeared in front of Superior Court Judge Hon. John R. Tassini on Dec. 18 in Freehold for an initial court appearance after being arrested on Dec. 17 and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Menjivar is charged with the March 2013 deaths of Maria Yolanda Catejo- Munoz, 35, of 678 Joline Ave., and Feredis Venturo, 33, of 418 Sairs Ave.

Thomas Huth, director of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Bureau, said both victims died of multiple stab wounds.

Menjivar was arrested following a joint investigation led by the Major Crimes Bureau, the Long Branch Police Department and Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities would not reveal where Menjivar was arrested.

Both victims, who were romantically linked, were discovered on March 26 after a missing persons report filed on behalf of Catejo-Munoz on March 24 led police to the apartment.

Menjivar, of 45 North Fifth Ave., is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $2 million bail with no 10 percent option, set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Francis J. Vernoia.

If convicted of murder, Menjivar faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole in a New Jersey state prison. If convicted of possession of weapon for an unlawful purpose, he faces a sentence of up to five years in state prison.

Menjivar, who is being represented by a public defender, sat silently as an interpreter read his charges and rights. Huth said more information would be available during a bail review, which will be held in the next three weeks.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Bureau at 1-800-533-7443.

After several relatively quiet years, the city has had an uptick in violence since 2013. Last year, there were five reported murders within the city after two consecutive years without a murder.

With Menjivar’s arrest, arrests have been made in all five 2013 murders, as well as a 2014 double homicide in which a city man is charged with the deaths of his cousin and her 10-year old foster daughter.