Bodies found in NJ restaurant connected to death of owner, officials say

New Jersey

A close-up photo of police lights by night

UNION, N.J. — Two women were found dead inside of a Hillside, New Jersey restaurant Tuesday, with officials investigating its possible connection to the death of the restaurant’s owner, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday.

Early Monday morning, officers found the body of Akanni Martin, 45, inside of a vehicle parked at a Union Enterprise Rent-A-Car location on the 1700 block of Morris Avenue, officials said.

Authorities said a weapon was recovered from the car, and it is not believed that Martin was the victim of foul play.

Detectives went to Martin’s home to notify his next of kin, but when they arrived, they discovered two individuals close to him were missing.

On Tuesday, detectives visited the K&K Jamaican Restaurant across the street from the home on the 1500 block of Summit Avenue in Hillside; Martin is a co-owner of the restaurant.

While at the restaurant, officials discovered the bodies of the two women: Karen Lemaitre, 39, the mother of Martin’s children, and her sister, Wanita Joffer, 41.

According to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, their deaths were ruled homicides.

The investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, with assistance from members of the Union Township Police Department, Hillside Police Department, and Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, remains active.

Officials said there is no known further threat to the community.

Anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Lieutenant Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271 or Detective Lamar Hartsfield at 908-451-1873.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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