Bail reduction denied for Cranford ‘firestarter’

CRANFORD — The husband of the Cranford mom arrested for attempting to kill the couple’s twins by setting fire to their car on the Garden State Parkway tried to get her bail reduced last week, but failed.

Ron Zuber, on leave from his job as the director of the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal, was emotionally crushed when he heard Superior Court Judge Robert Mega refused to lower the $800,000 bail for his wife, Narcissa Zuber, 48, saying she faced up to 70 years in jail if found guilty.

According to sources in the prosecutor’s office, if Zuber is indicted she faces two counts of attempted murder, one for each child.
Zuber was charged Nov. 28 with attempted murder in connection with the early evening Oct. 26 incident, with additional charges of aggravated arson and child endangerment also levied.

Friday was the first time authorities released information that the joint investigation by the prosecutor’s office, Troop E Criminal Investigation Office, and the arson unit of the state police revealed an accelerant had been used to start the fire that left the twins, a boy and girl, and their mother severely burned.

Prosecutors alleged that Zuber set the fire in the Jeep Liberty around 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 26 on the Parkway in Clark and then drove south for an additional two miles before stopping in Woodbridge, where motorists called the state police and local authorities.

The bail denial came Friday after the Cranford mother’s attorney William Lundsten told Mega his client was in need of medical and psychological help and could not obtain it in jail.

He also told the judge her husband was willing to put up their Cranford home in order to get her released from jail, but Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Vanderstreet fought the motion.

Vanderstreet argued that their investigation found Zuber poured a flammable accelerant inside the Jeep Liberty that contained her 7-year-old twins.

This was the first time authorities released information explaining why Zuber was arrested Nov. 28 when she was released from St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.

Initially when the incident occurred, it was thought the vehicle caught fire and the mother and children were trapped inside the vehicle.
Lundsten told Mega if Zuber’s bail was reduced she could stay at her sister’s house and be able to receive the medical help needed, but after Vanderstreet revealed a witness at St. Barnabas Medical Center overheard Zuber allegedly admit she tried to kill herself and her children, the judge denied the motion.

According to sources close to the investigation, the Cranford mother, originally from Columbia, suffered a stroke in 2011 and has aphasia, which affects her ability to speak.

The children, now released from the hospital, are living with their father in Cranford.
Zuber, according to neighbors and other sources, reportedly does not believe his wife set fire to their SUV and remains determined to get her out of custody.