ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – As the ten year anniversary approaches, authorities are asking for the public’s help in solving the 2011 homicide of Chafic “Steve” Ezzeddine, who owned and operated the Kenvil Diner alongside his family for approximately 30 years, according to acting Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and their law enforcement partners mark this solemn anniversary by reminding the public of this ongoing criminal investigation, and to once again ask for the public’s help, Carroll said.
On Saturday, May 28, 2011, in the middle of Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Ezzeddine was found murdered inside the Kenvil Diner, located on Route 46 in Roxbury Township, New Jersey, Carroll said.
The diner closed for business that day at around 2:00 p.m. and Ezzeddine was last seen alive between approximately 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. He was seen taking garbage to the dumpster outside the diner, Carroll said.
Individuals in the area also reported overhearing Ezzeddine’s car alarm go off between approximately 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., Carroll said.
Ezzeddine’s body was found in the kitchen of the diner by his wife at around 6:35 p.m. She had returned to the diner when he failed to come home that afternoon. The investigation also revealed that the front door to the diner was unlocked, although the sign on the door had been turned to “closed,” Carroll said.
The Morris County Medical Examiner ruled Mr. Ezzeddine’s death a homicide. The cause of death was determined to be multiple stab wounds, Carroll said.
“The investigation of this crime remains ongoing,” Carroll said.
Investigators have pursued leads not just in Morris County and New Jersey, but across multiple states, based on new information received, a review of existing evidence, and advancements in forensic technology. The collective efforts have included numerous law enforcement agencies, led by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Roxbury Township Police Department, with the assistance of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office, New Jersey State Police, City of New York Police Department, New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Secret Service, Carroll said.
“Investigators remain hopeful someone will come forward with information that may help solve this case. Although a decade has passed without an arrest, law enforcement remains fully committed to actively pursuing any and all information that may lead to an arrest. Any information could be helpful, and any and all information will be accepted. Allow the law enforcement professionals to determine what may or may not be relevant,” Carroll said.
A website developed by the Ezzeddine family, www.kenvildiner.com, pays tribute to Mr. Ezzeddine as a husband, a father, and “a great man.”
The Ezzeddine family, coupled with the Morris County CrimeStoppers program, has made a $50,000 reward available for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible for the murder. Although the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office remains fully supportive of the Ezzeddine family, the MCPO is not involved in any aspect of the reward being offered.
Anyone with information regarding this crime is strongly encouraged to contact the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 973-285-6200, the Roxbury Police Department at 973-448-2100, or Crimestoppers at 973-COP-CALL (267-2255). Individuals reporting any information may remain anonymous. Information on how to leave an anonymous call or text message can be found at the Crimestoppers Program website at www.copcall.org.
Chafic “Steve” Ezzeddine
Steve was a simple, hard-working family man, and a family patriarch, who left a rich and fulfilling life in Lebanon over 40 years ago, to come to the United States to be with the woman he loved – his wife, Amal. One of six children, Steve completed university in Lebanon and was enjoying the beginnings of a promising career with Middle East Airlines when he met Amal in 1970. Due to religious differences, Amal and Steve’s relationship was forbidden by society and frowned upon by their family and friends. As they secretly continued their relationship, Steve made a courageous decision to move to the United States in hopes of someday being able to marry the woman he loved. Before leaving, he told Amal that someday he would send for the woman he loved to come join him in the United States.
Steve departed Lebanon in 1971, leaving behind his family, friends, and successful job to start a life in America. He located to New Jersey, where he worked at a diner and enrolled in a Master’s program to continue to build on his education. After more than a year of long days, hard work, and weekly letters to Amal, Steve finally sent for her to join him in the United States. Although the decision was not supported by family, Amal left Lebanon in 1972 to be with the man she loved.
In the beginning, the two struggled, living in a motel room as Steve continued long days of work and school. Amal, not having many friends or family in New Jersey, and not knowing the English language, spent much of her time isolated in the motel room. Despite this hardship, the two married in October 1972. There began a union marked by the struggle to not only earn a living, but to also assimilate into a new society, start a family, make new friends, and ultimately become productive members of the community they came to call home. They dealt with the scrutiny of the family they left behind in Lebanon, knowing that their decision to leave their country to be together was brave, but not accepted. At the time, they knew in their hearts and minds that this was the only way they could be together.
Steve and Amal started a family, eventually having three sons. In 1983, after many years of hard work, the couple purchased the business that became the Kenvil Diner. For years, Steve worked tirelessly at the Diner to provide for his family, consistently working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, up until the day of his passing. Amal was there throughout it all, working countless hours in the Diner alongside the love of her life. Together they raised three hard working, successful young men, who struggle daily with the loss of their father. It is through his memory and inspiration that they strive to live as honorable a life as he did.