UPDATE: Murder Suspect Takes Own Life During Lengthy Standoff in Toms River; Woman Charged for Harboring

The suspect wanted and connection with last months homicide in Manchester was found dead after taking his own life during a lengthy standoff in Toms River on Friday.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on July 6, 2024, Elizabeth Mascarelli, 29, of Seaside Heights, was charged with Harboring a Fugitive from Justice in connection with events that occurred in Toms River on July 5, 2024.

On July 5, 2024, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, and United States Marshals Service, located Maxwell Johnston, 35, of Manchester Township, at a residence on Ravenwood Drive in Toms River; Johnston was wanted in connection with the murder of Gabriella Caroleo, 25, of Seaside Heights, which occurred in Manchester Township on June 27, 2024. Upon their arrival at the residence, the Marshals successfully called out three of the occupants; Johnston and Mascarelli remained in the residence, however, and it was learned that Johnston was armed.

Negotiators attempted to have Johnston surrender himself peacefully; those attempts were met with negative results. After several hours, Mascarelli exited the residence and was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River to be treated for injuries sustained throughout the standoff. The residence was subsequently cleared using a drone, and Johnston was located in a bedroom, deceased, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

Further investigation revealed that Mascarelli had allowed Johnston to stay at the residence on Ravenwood Drive with her for four days – despite her knowledge of the murder of Ms. Caroleo and Johnston’s alleged involvement in it. As such, Mascarelli was charged with Hindering a Fugitive from Justice, and served with the charge on a complaint at the hospital. Mascarelli will be transferred to the Ocean County Jail where she will be lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer expresses his sincere gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, Manchester Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Police Department, Toms River Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Police Department Emergency Services Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, United States Marshals Service, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Monmouth County Emergency Response Team, Howell Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Newark Police Department, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, for their combined and collective assistance in connection with this investigation.

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