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Missing Couple Found Dead in Wayne Garage

Melissa Pereira and Jorge Rodriguez were last seen on Dec. 27.

Jorge Rodriguez, 24, and Melissa Pereira, 25 / Photo courtesy of New Jersey State Police
Jorge Rodriguez, 24, and Melissa Pereira, 25 / Photo courtesy of New Jersey State Police

The bodies of a Wayne resident and her boyfriend were found Sunday inside a parked car in the woman's garage more than three weeks after they were reported missing.

Melissa Pereira, 25, and Jorge Rodriguez, 24, of Garfield, were last seen at Pereira’s Wayne home on Friday, Dec. 27.

Angie Escobar, Rodriguez’s cousin, confirmed the deaths on Sunday evening.

“We don’t want to say anymore information at this point,” Escobar said.

The couple was found about 10:30 a.m. Passaic County Assistant Prosecutor Michael DeMarco said. Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause and manner of death.

It was not immediately known how long the bodies were in the garage.

Garfield and Wayne police could not immediately be reached Sunday for comment.

The couple was seen at Kmart buying candles the night they disappeared. Pereira, a Caldwell College grad, didn’t take her wallet and left her jacket at home. Rodriguez also did not call out of work.

They booked a reservation in the Pocono Mountains at the Cherry Valley Manor in Stroudsburg, Pa. However, they never checked in at the bed and breakfast.

“They didn’t even call for a refund,” Escobar previously said.

Over the past few weeks, Pereira's cell phone was in use, but would quickly get turned off.

The state police issued a missing persons alert for the couple on Jan. 13.

A motorist might have picked up a couple matching their description in Hunterdon County on Jan. 7, Garfield police said.

A woman reported to the Garfield Police Department that she picked up two people walking along Route 12 that “resembled the missing persons,” police said.

The woman drove the pair to the Hunterdon County Library in Flemington, which was being used as a warming center, about an hour southwest of Wayne.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Kelly Kocsis-Hudson January 22, 2014 at 06:21 PM
I would just like to say that this is so sad and prayers to the family but I would also like to say that none of this makes sense its not like these guys needed alone time because apparently they were suppose to go to a bed and breakfast and for what ever reason the girl left her house without a wallet or a jacket and it was cold out. Also did the person in Hunterdon county really drop this couple off at the Library and why wouldn't they call home to let people know they were ok. Something just is not adding up and I hope the parents get the answers they need. Maybe they will and maybe they wont it is just all so sad. I cannot imagine how these parents must feel.
Pad January 23, 2014 at 02:48 PM
I believe this will turn out to be a horrible accidental death by CO poisoning. People feel sick in their homes for weeks with flu like symptoms and don't realize they are being poisoned by CO. In a garage with a car motor running and the door closed the effects would be multiplied many times and it wouldn't take long to become delirious or even become unconscious. This is why it is so important to have CO detectors in home and maybe one in the garage wouldn't be a bad idea. A lot of young people have no idea even what CO poisoning is. May God cradle them in his loving arms and may they RIP together as they lived life together.
Bill January 25, 2014 at 08:37 AM
John Davies, I remember you from Montclair. How you be?
Dee Mauriello January 25, 2014 at 10:49 PM
Very sad, my prayers go to the families.
Scondo January 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM
There is an effort raise funds for the funeral, maybe as a town we can raise enough to help. A couple of dollars would help.

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