A Pennsylvania woman has been arrested for fatally stabbing her elderly father and his girlfriend inside their upscale bayfront home at the Jersey Shore last Wednesday, authorities said.
Sherry Lee Heffernan, 55, was charged Tuesday with two counts of murder for the “targeted attack” of her 87-year-old father, John Enders, and his 75-year-old girlfriend, Francoise Pitoy, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutors, who have yet to reveal a motive, said Pitoy often stayed with Enders at his six-bedroom, waterfront home on the north end of Long Beach Island in New Jersey.
Heffernan, who was also charged with two counts of possession of a weapon in connection with the Sept. 29 murders, was taken into custody on Monday by the Pennsylvania State Police at her home about an hour outside of Philadelphia. Once extradited to New Jersey, she will be housed at the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing. It was not immediately clear if Heffernan has a lawyer.
Authorities say that while they believe Heffernan killed her father and his girlfriend last Wednesday, they did not discover their bodies until Oct. 3—when Surf City cops performed a welfare check at Enders’ home on North 7th Street.
Property records show Enders moved ownership of the home to his name from a trust status in May. Several real estate sites list the six-bedroom home on Barnegat Bay for at least $1.9 million. Enders also has a home in Pennsylvania.
Once inside, officers found Enders and Pitoy, who appeared to have “suffered multiple obvious stab wounds.” The Ocean County Medical Examiner later determined that Enders died from “multiple stab wounds with severance of the right carotid artery and blunt force trauma,” according to prosecutors. His death has been ruled a homicide.
A post-mortem examination on Pitoy is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
“We were able to determine very early on in the investigation that there was no immediate danger to the public. From there, these detectives went to work doing their absolute best to solve these horrific crimes. Every law enforcement officer involved in this investigation has my profound gratitude,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said.