FREEHOLD – Austin Meli, a 23-year-old Wall Twp. resident, was indicted by a Monmouth County Grand Jury today for Murder and Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the death of his 6-week old baby girl, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
On March 9, 2019, the Wall Township Police Department responded to a residence in their jurisdiction regarding an unresponsive six-week-old infant. The investigation determined that the child had been in the immediate care of her father, Austin Meli, at the time she was found to be unresponsive. The child was subsequently pronounced deceased at Ocean Medical Center, Brick, NJ. Subsequent investigation revealed additional details surrounding the infant’s death, and determined the manner of the baby’s death to be a homicide.
If anyone has any information that can assist the investigative team, they are urged to call Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Sergeant Shawn Murphy at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032 or Wall Township Police Detective Chris Lisewski at 732-449-4800 ext. 1140.
If convicted of Murder, Meli faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey State Prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Meli faces up to 10 years New Jersey State Prison on the Endangering the Welfare of a Child charge.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.
This case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Ellyn Rajfer and Margaret Koping.
Meli is represented by Jeffrey Coghlan, Esq., of Freehold.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
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