Police early Sunday morning found the body of a detective from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in a wooded area in Stafford in what appears to be a suicide, according to a release from the county prosecutor’s office.
Stafford Township Police discovered the body of Det. Sgt. Ronald Velardi at approximately 3 a.m. in a wooded area off Doc Cramer Drive in Stafford, Executive Assistant Prosecutor Michel Paulhus said in a release. The investigation is still ongoing, but it appears that Velardi, who had been on suspension without pay, took his own life, Paulhus said.
Last summer Velardi was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two underage girls, NJ.com reported in June. Velardi, a Manahawkin resident, was facing four counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of child endangerment, the report said. The charges were still pending at the time of his death, Paulhus said.
On Saturday police received information that spawned the search leading to the discovery of Velardi’s body early Sunday, Paulhus said. Velardi was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m., Paulhus said.
No additional information regarding Velardi’s death was being released by the prosecutor’s office, Paulhus said.
“Out of respect for the surviving family members, and consistent with the policy of this office, there will be no further statements made by this office about the death of Sgt. Velardi,” Paulhus said in the release.