Folsom homicide2

State Police investigate at the scene of a homicide Friday on Lenape Terrace in Folsom.

Steven Lemongello

FOLSOM — Residents of a quiet, wooded neighborhood were stunned to learn of the homicide of a local woman Friday.

In what State Police described as a domestic incident, Darrin Plumlee, 43, was arrested and charged with murder in the death of 30-year-old Merry Abernathy, State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones said.

Troopers responded to the scene about 8 a.m. Friday on the 100 block of Lenape Terrace, finding Plumlee and immediately taking him into custody for questioning and medical treatment. Plumlee was taken to a hospital with self-inflicted wounds, Jones said.

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Once inside the home, troopers found Abernathy dead with obvious signs of traumatic injury, Detective Brian Polite said. It is believed that Plumlee and Abernathy, who both lived at the address, were in a domestic relationship.

Lenape Terrace was blocked to traffic for most of the day, with numerous State Police vehicles parked outside. State Police investigators repeatedly entered and re-entered the one-story home.

Neighbors said they did not know much about the couple, who they said moved into the home a few years ago and had a child sometime after moving in.

While Abernathy is listed in public records as purchasing the house in 2004, she is also listed as having had an address in Charlotte, N.C., for several years. Plumlee is listed as having an address in Burlington County.

Neighbors said they couldn’t remember any police activity at the home before.

“They were very quiet,” Ron Carrelli said. “They kept to themselves.”

Cheryl Ricco also recalled the couple as not talkative.

“We only knew about their baby from the balloons outside the house,” she said.

Neighbors said they had started to see more of the family since that point. Carrelli said he saw the father walking down the street with the toddler girl just a few days ago.

Polite said he did not have any information about a child.

“It’s out of the blue!” said neighbor Nancy Gergler, who was shocked to see troopers there Friday morning. “I’ve been here since ’74, and you never see cops here. ... This is Folsom. It ain’t Philly.”

The homicide was the third killing in Atlantic County this year. Tyquinn James, of Atlantic City, was fatally shot Feb. 10, and Wally De Los Santos was shot dead at his home in Galloway Township on April 4. Arrests have been made in James’ murder, but not in De Los Santos’ slaying.

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