A 40-year-old New Jersey woman has been charged with sexually assaulting and murdering a 70-year-old woman.
On Thursday evening, Caroline Beckert dialed 911 to report that she had killed someone. After receiving the call, police arrived at Glenwood Apartments and Country Club in Old Bridge, New Jersey. When authorities got to the woman’s home, they found an elderly woman lying in a pool of blood in Beckert’s apartment. An affidavit from Detective Erik Larson stated there was a knife covered in blood, an umbrella, a drawer and clothing at the scene. Medical officials confirmed the woman was dead at the apartment.
According to a press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Beckert allegedly attacked the woman, identified as Joann Cullinan, inside her home and then stole $15 from her. A police report states Beckert allegedly used the knife and the wooden drawer to beat and stab Cullinan. While committing the murder, Beckert sexually assaulted the woman with an umbrella, police believe.
No motive for the killing has been confirmed, but police say the two were acquaintances. Neighbors say Cullinan was a peaceful person, but something about her was strange. “I have a feeling something happened,” the neighbor told CBS. “She looked like she needed help.” Cullinan lived with her adult son. Police are unsure if he was there at the time of the murder.
Beckert was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated sexual assault, and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. She is currently being held without bond at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center. A court hearing is scheduled for Friday in New Brunswick Superior Court. Medical examiners are expected to reveal the cause of death after performing an autopsy.