FREEHOLD – The 10-year anniversary of a Christmas Eve murder in Asbury Park is gaining renewed focus as the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police urge anyone with information to contact police, urged Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

On Christmas Eve 2007, 35-year old Cesar Torralba left his Sixth Avenue apartment to go to the Super Extra grocery store on Memorial Drive so he and his family could prepare for their holiday dinner. When he returned to the apartment building his wife Minerva Torralba heard voices outside her second floor apartment door around 12:40 p.m. She assumed it was her husband greeting a neighbor – a common practice for the husband and father of two.

Mrs. Torralba approached the door, looked out the peephole of the door and instead of finding her husband speaking with a neighbor she saw a black male pointing a small black handgun at Cesar. When she heard the assailant demand money from her husband, she turned away from the door to locate for her cellphone so she could call 911. However, before she was able to locate her phone she heard a gunshot.

She frantically ran to the door and out of the apartment to find her husband lying on the hallway floor – unconscious and bleeding. Mrs. Torralba grabbed her husband’s phone off the floor and began knocking on a neighbor’s door.  When the neighbor answered the door she took the phone and dialed 911.

Asbury Park police and emergency medical personnel responded to the 911 call and upon arrival immediately transported Cesar Torralba to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, in Neptune Township. Despite life-saving efforts by the medical staff, Cesar Torralba was pronounced deceased at 1:40 p.m., just 16 days shy of his 36th birthday.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Asbury Park Police Department remains active and ongoing but in spite of a significant effort has been unable to identify the person responsible for the callous killing of Cesar Torralba. Police received significant assistance by interested community members and groups, including the Guardian Angels. The Guardian Angels brought forth a strong presence, passed out flyers and encouraged residents to come forward with any and all information.

Despite the efforts, the flow of information regarding the murder began to fade over the course of time. However, investigators from the Prosecutor’s Office and Asbury Park Police Department have continued to re-visit the case and have given the utmost attention to any and all information which has been passed their way.  Now, detectives are turning to the public as the 10-year anniversary of Torralba’s Christmas Eve murder is upon us.

“As police officers and prosecutors we are sworn to treat each and every murder case and victim the same; we strive to do that each and every day and with each and every loss of life.  However, some cases are just so senseless and gut-wrenching that it demands special attention,” Gramiccioni said.  “Cesar Torralba’s widow and his two, now-teenage daughters deserve answers and they deserve justice.  10 years later we simply cannot forget that reality and facts of the case:  Here’s a man who left his two young children and his wife to go buy groceries for Christmas Eve dinner.  Then, just prior to reuniting with them, he was senselessly gunned down with only his front door separating him from his family.  On behalf of his loved ones, we urge anyone with information to please reach out to police.”

Minerva Torralba is ten years removed from the nightmare of her husband’s murder but continues to plead with the local community for assistance to find the killer.

“Please do not let your fear get in the way of justice for the person who killed my husband. Not a day goes by that my daughters and I do not think about my husband and their father. It’s hard to explain how just how hard it has been for my daughters to grow up not having a father to guide, love and cherish them.  While many days are difficult, things like father-daughter dances are unbearable. It’s just not fair to them.  They have grown up waiting for the person responsible to be arrested.  Cesar, their father and my husband, was a great man who worked hard every day to provide for us.  I plead with anyone who knows anything to contact police so my children do not have to wait any longer for justice,” Minerva Torralba implored.

Anyone who has any information regarding the murder of Cesar Torralba should contact Detective Jose Cruz of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Gabriel Carrasquillo of the Asbury Park Police Department at 732-774-1300.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-671-4400, which is an anonymous, confidential telephone tip-line. Tipsters may also text “MONMOUTH” plus the tip to 274637 or email tip via the website at Monmouth County Crime Stoppers does not need your name, and will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest or conviction of a criminal.

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