Deaths of Two in Hillside Linked to Death in Union Township

The deaths of two women in Hillside are believed to be connected to a death investigation in Union Township, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Wednesday night.

In the early morning hours of Monday, April 5, officers from Union Township Police Department noticed a vehicle parked in the rear lot of an Enterprise Rent-A-Car facility located on the 1700 block of Morris Ave in Union.

After approaching the vehicle, officers discovered the body of 45-year-old Akanni A. Martin, of Hillside, inside with a gunshot wound to the head. A weapon was recovered near his body. Investigators do not believe foul play was involved.

In working to notify Martin’s next of kin, detectives from Union Township visited Martin’s home on the 1500 block of Summit Ave in Hillside. After further investigation, detectives determined two individuals close to Martin were missing.

On Tuesday, April 6, Detectives visited K & K Jamaican Restaurant on the 1500 block of Summit Ave in Hillside, a restaurant co-owned by Martin. At this location, detectives discovered the bodies of 39-year-old Karen A. Lemaitre, the mother of Martin’s children, and her sister, 41-year-old Wanita A. Joffer.

An autopsy conducted today by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office on Lemaitre and Joffer ruled their manner of death to be a homicide.

This matter remains under active investigation, led 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.

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. At this time, there is no known further threat to the community.