Body of NJ mom missing since New Year's Eve is found

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. -- Officials say GPS helped lead them to the body of a missing New Jersey woman whose husband has been charged with murder.

Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi and Mt. Laurel Police Chief Dennis Cribbens Jr. announced Wednesday the remains of Erica Crippen were discovered by investigators in a rural area of Sykesville, Maryland.

Officials say Crippen, age 26, was found in a pile of branches and tree limbs in a grove of pine trees off of Old Frederick Road in Carroll County, Maryland.

She was wrapped in a fleece blanket. Her hands and feet had been bound with an electrical cord that was also wrapped around her neck. She had duct taped across her mouth and nose.

An autopsy is scheduled to be performed by the Office of the Chief Examiner in Baltimore.

Crippen had been missing since New Year's Eve.

Erica's husband, 28-year-old Kyle Crosby, was charged with murder in January in connection with her death. He remains in jail on $1 million bail.

"This is an animal. He needs to be in a cage. Who are you to take somebody's life? Who gave you the right," said Barbara Kellam, victim's cousin.

"My sister was a remarkable woman. She cared, she was a good mother, she was intelligent," said Janiya Crippen, victim's sister.

In her heart, she knew her sister was gone but she's just thankful her sister will get a proper burial.

Officials say they were able to find Crippen's remains using the GPS device the Ford Crosby was driving prior to his arrest.

Using the GPS system, an older generation Garmin style, authorities pinpointed anytime Crosby stopped at a location for five minutes or more.

After narrowing down the destinations, the coordinates led them to locations in Maryland that were marked electronically.

Authorities theorized the user had been scouting sites to dump a body.

"We began to think he was think he was looking for area perhaps where the body could be dumped. Those two locations were ultimately ruled out and the body was found within 2 or 3 miles of both those locations," Bernardi said.

One data point, what Benardi described as an electronic breadcrumb, led police to just behind a tree in Sykesville where they found Crippen's body Tuesday.

Authorities did say the weather hindered their search.

Additionally, officials say Crosby's mother Joy, 67, deleted several text messages from her phone sent to her son on the morning police believe he killed his wife.

The text messages were described in a court document filed as Jo Crosby was charged with hindering and tampering with physical evidence.

Joy Crosby was released after posting $12,500 bail.

Burlington County Prosecutor's Office Detective Wayne Raynor says in the probable-cause statement that Crosby texted with her son around the time of Crippen's disappearance. He says she deleted those texts to conceal incriminating information.

The affidavit was obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer and Burlington County Times through an open records request.

It states that at least 15 text messages between Crosby and his mother on New Year's Eve were retrieved during a forensic examination of their cellphones. Kyle Crosby also had an 18-minute phone conversation with his mother, the affidavit says.

During a Jan. 9 interview with Mount Laurel police, Jo Crosby said she didn't recall getting a phone call from her son on Dec. 31, the affidavit says. She even showed her cellphone to police.

Jo Crosby eventually admitted deleting the messages when she learned authorities were coming to interview her, the affidavit says. She later said she recalled receiving a 3:31 a.m. call from her son Dec. 31, but not the actual conversation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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