May 18, 2023
A Camden County mother of two was found dead along a highway in North Jersey on Wednesday, four days after Mother's Day when her family reported her missing, authorities said.
Norelis Mendoza, 32, of Lindenwold, Camden County, was last seen alive in Jersey City on Saturday. Mendoza, who grew up in Jersey City, left her mother's home around 10 p.m. and didn't return. Her family called police the next day to report her missing and information was shared with the public to help locate her.
Investigators searching for Mendoza found her body on the side of Route 440 in Bayonne, near the border with Jersey City, on Wednesday. She was pronounced dead at the scene, investigators said. The cause of Mendoza's death has not been released pending the results of an autopsy. The case is being led by the homicide unit of the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office and Jersey City police.
Family members told ABC7 in New York that Mendoza's body was found near her children's father's home. The family said a restraining order had been taken out against the father and that he has a history of violence.
After leaving her mother's home, Mendoza was spotted on surveillance video with someone the night she went missing, CBS New York reported. She had been in the downtown Jersey City area.
"We didn't know who she went out with at the time. We didn't know if she got in a vehicle, if she walked anywhere," said Geovanni Molina, Mendoza's cousin.
When Mendoza's mother tried to contact her daughter, phone calls went straight to voicemail.
Police did not say how long Mendoza's body may have been on the side of the highway before she was found.
"A 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, they don't get to see their mother anymore," Molina said.
Anyone with information is about this case is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at (201) 915-1345. Anonymous tips can be submitted using an online form.