UPDATE: There have been two more arrests in this case (see end of post) . . .
Stephen Moore dropped his daughter off at the Ocean Township, New Jersey, home of his ex-wife on Aug. 16.
That was the last time anyone saw the 42-year-old Huntington Beach native alive. Moore's body was found Aug. 18 in the trunk of his mother's 2001 Nissan Altima, which had been set ablaze alongside a Long Branch, N.J., roadway.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office announcement on the murder arrest of Kathleen Dorsett, Moore's ex-, follows:
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Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office
71 Monument Park
Freehold, New Jersey 07728
Luis A. Valentin, Prosecutor
OCEAN TOWNSHIP WOMAN CHARGED WITH MURDER OF FORMER HUSBAND
Victim's body recovered from the trunk of his mother's burned car in Long Branch, N.J.
On August 23, 2010, Kathleen Dorsett, 36, of Ocean Township, N.J, was arrested and charged with one count of first degree Murder and one count of fourth degree Tampering with Physical Evidence. The charges relate to the homicide of Stephen Moore, 42, of Manchester Township, N.J., and the subsequent concealment of evidence relating to the homicide. Mr. Moore's body was found in the trunk of his mother's burned 2001 Nissan Altima off of the roadway on Seaview Avenue in Long Branch, N.J. on August 18, 2010.
Following Dorsett's arrest, Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Thomas F. Scully set Dorsett's bail at $1.5 million "cash only." Dorsett is being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in lieu of bail. Dorsett's Initial Appearance and Bail Review in Monmouth County Superior Court has been tentatively scheduled for August 24, 2010. Mr. Moore was reported missing to the Manchester Township Police Department by his employer, a Monmouth County automobile dealer, on Monday, August 16, 2010, after he failed to report for work that morning. The Manchester Township Police Department immediately initiated an investigation into Mr. Moore's whereabouts.
On Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at approximately 4:10 a.m., the Monmouth County Radio Room received several "911" telephone calls regarding a fire on Seaview Avenue in Long Branch, N.J. Upon arrival, the responding members of the Long Branch fire and police departments discovered a 2001 Nissan Altima on fire. The fire was extinguished, following which an adult male human body was found in the trunk of the car. A comparison of dental records resulted in the body being positively identified as that of Mr. Moore. An autopsy later revealed that Mr. Moore's death was a homicide.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Long Branch, Manchester Township
and Ocean Township police departments, assisted by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, are conducting a comprehensive investigation into Mr. Moore's death. The investigation revealed that Kathleen Dorsett and Mr. Moore were married in 2007, but were divorced in June 2010. They had a twenty month old daughter together. Pursuant to the terms of a custody agreement, Mr. Moore dropped the child off at Dorsett's home on Lockwood Place in Ocean Township, N.J., on the morning of August 16, 2010, shortly before he was due to report for work. Mr. Moore was not seen or heard from again after he dropped his child off at his ex-wife's residence. The investigation has revealed Dorsett's involvement in his death.
If convicted of Murder, the maximum potential custodial sentence is a State Prison term of up to life in prison, and the minimum mandatory custodial sentence is a State Prison term of 30 years with a 30 year period of parole ineligibility. If convicted of Tampering with Physical Evidence, the maximum potential custodial is an 18 month term.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin stated, "The investigation is continuing. Police are actively pursuing numerous leads regarding the circumstances surrounding the victim's death as well how his body came to be in the trunk of his mother's burning automobile. We are seeking the public's assistance in identifying all of the individuals who played a role in Mr. Moore's untimely death and the disposal of his body."
In order to assist members of the public in determining whether they possess information regarding Mr. Moore's death and/or the disposal of his body, a photograph of Dorsett which was taken at the time of her arrest accompanies this News Release.
Prosecutor Valentin requests that any individuals in possession of information which may potentially further the investigation contact Detective Jeffrey Wilbert of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 1-800/533-7443, Detective Michael Decker of the Long Branch Police Department at 732/571-5695, Detective Albert Vega of the Manchester Township Police Department at 732/657-6111, and/or Detective Patrick Martin of the Ocean Township Police Department at 732/531-1800.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
Released: August 23, 2010
UPDATE: The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office has announced that Kathleen Dorsett's father, Thomas Dorsett, 62, has, like his daughter, also been charged with first-degree murder. He faces additional charges of arson for hire, conspiracy to commit arson and desecration of human remains. He is accused of paying Anthony Morris $3,000 to burn the car with his former son-in-law's body in the trunk. Morris, 31, has been arrested on suspicion of arson, tampering with physical evidence and desecration of human remains.