2 charged with murder in NJ burned body case

February 28, 2010 4:39:16 PM PST
State police have charged two people in the beating death of a man whose badly burned body was found in southern New Jersey last week. 45-year-old Gregory Elk and 41-year-old Susan Vasikonis, who live together in Brick, were also charged with desecrating human remains, state police spokesman Steve Jones said Sunday.

They were each being held on $1 million cash bail after being arrested Saturday at a hotel in Green Castle, Pa., and were awaiting extradition.

Jones said authorities believe the pair killed Eric Pagan, a 37-year-old Ocean Grove resident, during an argument at their home.

It's believed they struck him with a blunt object, such as a hammer, but the weapon has not been recovered.

Pagan's body was found Feb. 23 by firefighters responding to an early morning brush fire in rural Woodland Township. He was identified by fingerprints recovered from the body, and the Burlington County Medical Examiner determined that he died of blunt force trauma to the head, and the case was ruled a homicide.

Detectives believe an accelerant was used to burn the body, Jones said, and those flames started the brush fire, which was reported by a passing motorist. fire was seen by a passing motorist and called in to 911.


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