Family seeks answers in death of man, 38

By JENNIFER ORTIZ
Staff Writer

 Timothy J. Harden Timothy J. Harden A family is searching for answers in the death of a loved one, but law enforcement authorities offered little information this week concerning the circumstances of his passing.

Attorney Thomas Mallon, who represents the family of Timothy J. Harden, 38, of Belmar, told the Tri-Town News on Sept. 14 that Harden was volunteering at a music festival being held in Howell on Sept. 5.

The music festival was taking place at the New Jersey Latvian Society’s property on Route 33.

Melissa Barna, who is Harden’s half-sister, said that sometime between 3:10-3:30 p.m., Harden’s grandmother, who lives in Belmar, was informed by Belmar police that Harden was in the custody of Howell police.

Barna said her grandmother subsequently spoke by telephone to a Howell police officer and was asked if Harden had any medical conditions because he appeared to be in an altered state of mind.

Barna said her grandmother told the officer that Harden did not have a medical condition.

Mallon said he was told by a festival organizer and security personnel that Harden was creating a disturbance at the music festival. The attorney said security personnel working at the festival detained Harden until Howell police officers arrived.

Mallon said a festival organizer and a security representative told him that Harden seemed “physically OK” when they turned him over to police. Howell police referred a call seeking information about the incident to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

On Sept. 14, Charles Webster, a spokesman for the prosecutor, said Harden was transported by ambulance from the music festival to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. He said Harden was pronounced dead at 4:14 p.m. Sept. 5.

Webster provided no additional details and said the matter is under investigation.

Mallon said a Belmar Police Department detective and a Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office detective went to the home of Harden’s grandmother and told her that her grandson had died.

According to Mallon, an autopsy revealed that Harden sustained significant head trauma. His cause of death is unknown. Mallon asked anyone who may have witnessed what took place at the music festival to call him at 732-899-4500.

“We did not find out he had passed until about midnight,” Barna said. “He was my brother. He was a great person. We are desperately seeking any information as to why he was in police custody and what happened to him. Besides grieving for his death, this is killing us, not knowing what happened to him. I am past the point of crying, I am just angry now. I want to know what happened to my brother. There are more questions than there are answers. It is driving my sister and I insane. We still don’t know anything. It is so frustrating, I can’t even state that enough.”

— Contact Jennifer Ortiz at jortiz@gmnews.com