Residents of Plainfield were shocked last night to learn that 69-year old Gail Vandewalle had been killed in her Watson Avenue home and that her son, 44-year old John Quakenbush, had been arrested and charged with her murder.
According to a statement released by Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow, officers from the Plainfield Police Department were summoned to the home on Sunday to perform a “welfare check” on Vandewalle after neighbors reported not having seen her for days. Vandewalle was found dead in her living room, allegedly with a blanket over her.
Early yesterday, authorities located Quakenbush, their prime suspect, at a motel in Green Brook. He was taken into custody without incident, and bail was set at $1 million.
Authorities would not release any details surrounding Vandewalle’s death or any possible motive for her killing, but Prosecutor Romankow did note that the matter represented the first murder in Union County this year.
Vandewalle was an interior decorator at the nearby Ethan Allen store on Route 22. Neighbors remarked that she was a “sweet lady.”
For more information, see the Star Ledger article entitled, “Plainfield man charged with killing mother.”
Because the victim and the suspect were family, the matter falls under the purview of “domestic violence.”
Murder is a crime of the first degree, the most serious under the New Jersey Criminal Code. If convicted, Quakenbush faces a sentence of 30 years to life imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison, with a minimum of 30 years that must be served before becoming eligible for parole. There are also certain circumstances that would warrant him serving the sentence in a maximum security prison.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a serious crime as a result of a domestic violence or other related incident, do not delay in hiring legal representation. Protect your rights.
Skilled criminal defense lawyer Alissa D. Hascup is available anytime for a free initial consultation.