Rahway man admits to fatal strangulation of girlfriend

A Rahway resident has admitted to strangling his girlfriend to death in 2015, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr. announced Wednesday.

Ignacio Ortiz Vasquez, 42, earlier this week pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the death of 27-year-old Yuri Cruz. The pleas were entered just days before the scheduled start of his trial this coming Tuesday.

Rahway Police Department patrol units responded to the 900 block of Jacques Avenue in Rahway shortly after 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 12, 2015 to find an unresponsive Cruz, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Spagnoli, who is prosecuting the case. Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene shortly thereafter.

A joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Rahway Police Department, assisted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office Identification Unit, revealed that Vasquez had strangled Cruz in her bed as she slept, just feet away from where their young son was also sleeping, Spagnoli said. Vasquez then left the scene.  

Vasquez was arrested later that day and lodged in Union County Jail on $1 million.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, June 8, 2018 before state Superior Court Judge Lisa Miralles Walsh.

Convictions on murder charges are punishable by up to life in state prison, with a mandatory 30-year minimum term.