Melissa Pereira’s and Jorge Rodriguez’s families have launched online campaigns to help pay for their funerals.
Pereira, 25, a Caldwell College grad, and Rodriguez, 24, were found dead in a car inside the detached garage outside of Pereira’s Wayne apartment Sunday at 10:30 a.m., authorities said. They were reported missing Dec. 30, three after they were last seen at Pereira’s residence in the Wayne Village apartment complex on Lancaster Court.
Pereira’s family is accepting donations on gofundme.com. Nearly $2,900 has been donated so far; the family hopes to raise $10,000.
More than 100 people donated $8,300 to Rodriguez’s family to help pay for his funeral, well more than the $7,000 the family had hoped to receive.
Sham Bacchus, Pereira’s uncle, and her mother could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Angie Escobar, Rodriguez’s cousin, said the families want the funerals to be private and only family members will be attending them.
Pereira and Rodriguez were together for two years. They were happy and looking forward to having a future together. They were slated to visit a bed and breakfast in the Pocono Mountains
Wayne police Capt. James Clarke told NorthJersey.com that the battery of the car the couple was found in was dead and that the gas tank was empty.
The results of autopsies performed on the bodies may take weeks to be released, said Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Michael DeMarco. The medical examiner conducting the autopsies needs the results of toxicology tests before making a decision on the manner and cause of death.
Authorities do not know how long the bodies were inside the garage. Wayne police said during the investigation there was no reason to believe the couple was “in jeopardy.” They and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the deaths.
A memorial service for Pereira will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Caldwell College chapel. Pereira is an alumnus of the college.