Karon Council, 18, of Neptune Township has eluded arrest for the murder of Yovanni Banos-Merino, 10, of Asbury Park and the wounding of his mother, Lilia Merino, 38.
“We are seeking the public’s assistance in helping us locate the second individual involved in this horrible crime,” announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Efforts to locate Council are active and ongoing, and involve the collaborative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement authorities. The Neptune Township teenager was charged with Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose on Friday, February 23.
MMM has learned that authorities believe that Council was the shooter on Wednesday night February 21 at the Merino home on the 400 block of Ridge Ave in Asbury Park.
Members of the community have informed MMM that the 16 year old arrested in the murder on Thursday at Neptune High School is Jahdel Birch.
Birch is in the custody of the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center. He is scheduled for a court appearance in Freehold on Tuesday, February 28, 2018.
Asbury Park police responded to a 911 call around 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, reporting shots fired at a home in the 400 block of Ridge Avenue in the city. Police arrived to find Yovanni Banos-Merino, 10, and his mother, Lilia Merino, 38, both suffering from gunshot wounds. Both victims were transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township. Yovanni was pronounced deceased at 11:18 p.m. while Lilia was treated and released for her injuries.
Gramiccioni is urging anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Council to come forward and warned that police are prepared to charge any individuals who play a role in obstructing the apprehension of Council or who assists in concealing him from police.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Sean DeShader of the Asbury Park Police Department at 732-774-1300.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com. ; Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.