COMMERCIAL TOWNSHIP — State Police were still searching in Cedarville Wednesday morning for Jeremiah Monell, who allegedly killed his wife, Tara O’Shea-Watson.

O’Shea-Watson lived in fear of her husband, the man who beat and abused her for more than a decade, her friends say.

Monell has not been located and State Police said as of Wednesday morning they were searching for the suspect near Sawmill Road.

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{blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”}{p lang=”en” xml:lang=”en” dir=”ltr”}Troopers have resumed search for murder suspect Jeremiah Monell in the area of Sawmill Rd in Cedarville. Updates to follow as info comes in.

— NJSP — State Police (@NJSP) December 21, 2016{/blockquote} {script charset=”utf-8” type=”text/javascript” src=””}{/script}

There were times when all O’Shea-Watson did was talk with a family member and Monell would “freak out on her,” prompting beatings that resulted in bruises, said Jennifer Messeck, O’Shea-Watson’s friend since childhood.

But what may have put Monell, 32, over the top occurred in the past few months, Messeck said. That’s when O’Shea-Watson got a restraining order she finally decided to enforce and filed for divorce, Messeck said.

“That was the final straw,” she said.

State Police said they found the 35-year-old O’Shea-Watson unconscious and unresponsive when they arrived at her Raymond Drive home in the township’s Laurel Lake section shortly after 8 a.m. Monday. State Police said they were responding to a call about a dead woman.

Monell, a 5-foot-9, 140-pound white man, is wanted on a murder charge and weapons offenses. Bail is already set at $1 million.

Later Tuesday afternoon, State Police found his truck near railroad tracks off Sawmill Road. Police searched the area with dogs and helicopters Tuesday night.

Authorities aren’t saying why Monell allegedly killed O’Shea-Watson. They also aren’t disclosing how Monell allegedly killed his wife.

O’Shea-Watson has three children — ages 18, 16 and 15 — from different relationships, said friend Penny Morey, of Cedarville in Lawrence Township. O’Shea-Watson was living at the Raymond Drive site with two of Monell’s children, who are ages 12 and 5, Morey said.

Messeck, who lives in Laurel Lake, said the two children weren’t harmed during Monday’s incident. She wouldn’t disclose the children’s current location.

While State Police won’t comment further on the incident, friends of O’Shea-Watson said the stay-at-home mom’s life was far from pleasant since she married Monell about 12 years ago.

“He was abusive the entire time they were together,” Messeck said.

Messeck said O’Shea-Watson tried to flee from Monell, running to “family, friends, anywhere she could be safe,” even “crossing state lines a few times.” Monell found O’Shea-Watson each time, she said.

Morey, who said she’s known O’Shea-Watson for about seven years, said O’Shea-Watson took out several restraining orders against Monell but never had them enforced.

“She would always drop them,” Morey said. “He promised to change. She bought into that. I think she felt sorry for him. Being a victim of abuse myself, I know how hard it is.”

But there were times when Morey said O’Shea-Watson visited her home with visible bruises, battered lips and other injuries.

“He beat her,” Morey said. “She was in fear of her life. I helped her out as much as I could.”

Anyone with information about the incident or Monell’s whereabouts can call State Police at the Port Norris barracks at 856-785-0036.


Twitter @ACPressSerpico

Covering breaking news for The Press of Atlantic City since September 2016. Graduate of the University of Maryland, Central Jersey native.

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