ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ (Sussex County) – Two Sussex County men have been charged for allegedly removing a man’s remains from a residence in Hopatcong and then hiding his body in a doghouse in Andover Township, according to Andover Township police.
Brian Cheda-Hackembruch, 25, of Andover Township and Matthew R. Thomas, 27, of Newton were charged with second-degree disturbing or desecrating human remains, police said.
On July 3, at around 12:00 p.m., township police responded to a report of a deceased body being left under the deck area of a residence located on West Lakeview Road. Upon arrival at the residence, officers were met by family members who informed them a body was left in a doghouse underneath the deck area, police said.
Police began to check the area under the deck when they found a deceased body contained within a doghouse. The scene was immediately secured which included closing down portions of West Lakeview Road and Hilltop Road in order to process the scene. Members of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office and the New Jersey State Police Crime Scene Unit were requested to the scene to assist, police said.
Cheda-Hackembruch and Thomas left the scene prior to the arrival of officers. Shortly after, they had called 9-1-1 reaching the Sussex County 911 Communications Center and reported the body being under the deck of a residence on West Lakeview Road, police said.
A broadcast had been sent to area police agencies in order to attempt to locate Cheda-Hackembruch’s vehicle and Thomas with negative results, police said.
On July 5, Andover Township police detectives and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office received information on the whereabouts of Cheda-Hackembruch and Thomas. Troopers from the Delaware State Police were notified and coordinated with detectives in locating and apprehending both Cheda-Hackembruch and Thomas without incident. They were taken into custody and lodged at a local correctional facility in Delaware while they await extradition proceedings back to New Jersey, police said.
According to police, Cheda-Hackembruch and Thomas had removed the body from a residence in Hopatcong following the victim’s death due to a medical emergency. They then placed the victim in the trunk of a vehicle belonging to the victim.
A towing company was called to remove the vehicle from the property and brought the vehicle to Andover Township where the vehicle was offloaded on the street near West Lakeview Road. The body of the victim was then later removed from the trunk of the vehicle and placed under the deck within the doghouse where the body was later discovered, police said.
“There is no foul play suspected at this time surrounding the victim’s death and the investigation is ongoing into the details as to the removal of the deceased body,” police said.
Cheda-Hackembruch and Thomas are both currently on probation and have prior criminal records. Additional charges against both are pending following the completion of the investigation, police said.