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Missing Caldwell College Grad, Boyfriend Found Dead in Wayne Garage

Melissa Pereira and Jorge Rodriguez were last seen on Dec. 27.

Jorge Rodriguez, 24, and Melissa Pereira, 25 / Photo courtesy of New Jersey State Police
Jorge Rodriguez, 24, and Melissa Pereira, 25 / Photo courtesy of New Jersey State Police

The bodies of a Wayne resident and her boyfriend were found Sunday inside a parked car in the woman's garage more than three weeks after they were reported missing.

Melissa Pereira, 25, and Jorge Rodriguez, 24, of Garfield, were last seen at Pereira’s Wayne home on Friday, Dec. 27.

Angie Escobar, Rodriguez’s cousin, confirmed the deaths on Sunday evening.

“We don’t want to say anymore information at this point,” Escobar said.

The couple was found at about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Passaic County Assistant Prosecutor Michael DeMarco told NJ.com. Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause and manner of death, DeMarco said.

It was not immediately known how long the bodies were in the garage.

Garfield and Wayne police could not immediately be reached Sunday for comment.

The couple was seen at Kmart buying candles the night they disappeared. Pereira, a Caldwell College grad, didn’t take her wallet and left her jacket at home. Rodriguez also did not call out of work.

They booked a reservation in the Pocono Mountains at the Cherry Valley Manor in Stroudsburg, Pa. However, they never checked in at the bed and breakfast.

“They didn’t even call for a refund,” Escobar previously said.

Over the past few weeks, Pereira's cell phone was in use, but would quickly get turned off.

The state police issued a missing persons alert for the couple on Jan. 13.

A motorist might have picked up a couple matching their description in Hunterdon County on Jan. 7, Garfield police said.

A woman reported to the Garfield Police Department that she picked up two people walking along Route 12 that “resembled the missing persons,” police said.

The woman drove the pair to the Hunterdon County Library in Flemington, which was being used as a warming center, about an hour southwest of Wayne.


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