Authorities on Wednesday said two sisters were found dead at a Union County restaurant, a day after the eatery’s co-owner was found fatally shot nearby.
The homicides of the women and the shooting death of the eatery’s co-owner, 45-year-old Akanni A. Martin, are connected, according to acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo.
Police on Monday morning found Martin shot in the head in a vehicle parked behind a rental car business in the 1700 block of Morris Avenue in Union Township, Ruotolo said.
“A weapon was recovered near his body,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “Investigators do not believe foul play was involved.” The prosecutor did not immediately release more details about Martin’s death.
Detectives went to Martin’s Hillside home to inform his relatives, according to Ruotolo.
“After further investigation, detectives determined two individuals close to Martin were missing,” the prosecutor added.
On Tuesday, police went to the eatery Martin co-owned, K & K Jamaican Restaurant, in the 1500 block of Summit Avenue in Hillside, the prosecutor said.
“At this location, detectives discovered the bodies of 39-year-old Karen A. Lemaitre, the mother of Martin’s children, and her sister, 41-year-old Wanita A. Joffer,” Ruotolo said.
An autopsy Wednesday revealed both women were the victims of homicide, according to the prosecutor. A cause of death was not released.
“At this time, there is no known further threat to the community,” Ruotolo’s statement added.
It was unclear why authorities waited until Wednesday to disclose that the homicides occurred and the prosecutor’s office did not detail how the deaths were linked.
Police in Hillside and Union Township did not comment and referred inquiries to the prosecutor’s office, which did not answer questions beyond a Wednesday night statement.
Anyone with information can call prosecutor’s office Lt. Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271 or Det. Lamar Hartsfield at 908-451-1873.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.
Noah Cohen may be reached at [email protected].