New Jersey arrests suspect in murder of 14-year-old girl

Stockton serial killer suspect first arrested for selling crack at 15: report

Wednesday, February 4, 2014, 11:14 AM

By KELLI SMITH

NEW YORK (AP) — The person who police say was behind two vicious slayings that left teenage girls dead in the 1970s is likely to be among hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders who are being released from prison each year, New York’s prison system reported.

Newark, N.J., police arrested the person in the alleged 1974 murder of Jennifer Toth and a 14-year-old girl whose body was dumped in Newark’s Union City neighborhood, police said Tuesday.

Police arrested the suspect last month in New Jersey after receiving a tip from a person who claims he heard of Toth’s murder from a friend who visited the woman at the Jersey City hotel where she was staying, police said. Police were able to confirm that the man had been in prison and was likely responsible for Toth’s murder, according to a police report from the investigation.

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They identified the suspect as a 37-year-old transient named Robert J. Thomas, the report said. Thomas was charged with murder in the 1974 deaths of Jennifer Toth and Michelle Pfeifer, who were abducted from Newark and New Jersey cities in May 1974, according to a police search warrant.

Investigators say Thomas was incarcerated for possession of a controlled substance, police have said. They also say he was convicted of selling drugs and has a lengthy rap sheet that includes more than 60 felony and misdemeanor drug convictions in New Jersey and New York.

Police have a warrant out for Thomas’ arrest in New Jersey. He is expected to be extradited to New York, authorities said.

The Associated Press reported in 2011 that Thomas was suspected in the deaths of three young people — including Toth, 25, in 1979 and a fifth teen in the 1980s. In those cases, police did not disclose the names of the victims.

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