by Al DellaFave, OCPO
TOMS RIVER-Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police today announced the arrest of Alan McGinnis, 27, of Pemberton in the death of Cody MacPherson whose remains were discovered in the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area this past March.
On September 24th 2017, Pemberton Township Police Detectives filed a missing person report for Cody MacPherson, 20, who recently moved to Browns Mills from Portage, Indiana.
On March 19, 2018, at 1:32 p.m., the Jackson Township Police Department received a call from Richard Byrne, a District Warden with the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Warden Byrne was conducting a controlled burn in the area between 433 and 483 South Stump Tavern Road in the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area. Warden Byrne was preparing the area for the burn when he observed human remains under logs close to the area of the burn. He then moved closer and noticed what he believed to be a human skull. Warden Byrne then contacted his supervisor via radio and requested a suppression team to respond to put out the burn in the area to preserve the evidence.
Detectives from the New Jersey State Police Homicide South Unit were contacted, and Detective Shaun Clark was assigned to work the investigation with the Major Crime Homicide Unit of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Initial identification was made showing that the remains found were suspected to be those of Cody MacPherson, a missing person out of Burlington County.
On March 20, 2018, at 10:00 a.m., a Post Mortem Examination was conducted at Community Medical Center in Toms River NJ. The Forensic Pathologist assigned was Dr. Dante Ragasa, who received assistance from Anna Delaney, a Forensic Anthropologist, and Dr. Stewart Alexander, a Forensic Odontologist. Subsequent to the examination, Dr. Ragasa ruled the cause of death to be a stab wound to the left abdomen and the manner of death to be homicide. Dr. Alexander took photographs and X-rays of the teeth, and determined that all dental work observed was consistent with the records obtained for the missing person, Cody MacPherson.
On April 17, 2018, D/Sgt. Joseph Itri of the NJSP was contacted by Anna Delaney, a Forensic Anthropologist, who informed him that the NJSP Laboratory positively identified the remains found in Jackson Township to be those of Cody MacPherson by DNA analysis.
On April 21, 2018 at approximately 0600 hours, two residential search warrants were executed in Pemberton Township and Jackson Township. The investigation revealed that during the early hours of September 24, 2017, Alan McGinnis of Pemberton, NJ allegedly stabbed Cody MacPherson multiple times at the residence of 234 Pardee Blvd in Pemberton Township, NJ. McGinnis then used a vehicle available at the residence to transport the victim in the trunk to the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area on South Stump Tavern Road in Jackson. McGinnis later traveled back to Pemberton where the scene was cleaned of visible blood and other evidence of the murder. The suspect also destroyed evidence associated with the crime.
On April 21, 2017, Alan McGinnis was charged by the New Jersey State Police with murder, kidnapping, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, improper disposal of human remains, and destruction of evidence. He is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Brant Uricks of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Homicide Unit at (732) 929-2027, Detective Shaun Clark of the New Jersey State Police Homicide Unit, Detective Brian Miller of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Homicide Unit, Detective Jason Luis of the Pemberton Police Department, or Detective Scott Conover of the Jackson Township Police Department.
The public and the press are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.