Union man indicted for murder, dismemberment of girlfriend

ELIZABETH — A grand jury has returned a nine-count indictment against the Union man charged with killing and dismembering his girlfriend last autumn, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park has announced.

Matthew Ballister III, 44, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree desecration of human remains, two counts of third-degree hindering apprehension, third-degree burglary, third-degree making terroristic threats, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.

The date was Oct. 22, 2013 when Ballister allegedly murdered 43-year-old April Wyckoff of Cranford at his home on Mercer Avenue in Union, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Peterson, who is prosecuting the case.

A joint investigation spearheaded by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Union Police Department subsequently determined that Ballister took measures to attempt to conceal the crime, Peterson said.

Human remains recovered in Newark five days after Wyckoff’s death later were positively identified as belonging to her, and an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be multiple forms of blunt-force and sharp-force trauma.

The discovery followed an intensive search involving more than 200 municipal, county, and state law-enforcement representatives combing through multiple areas in Hudson, Essex, and Union counties.

Investigators are continuing to search for additional human remains. Ballister remains lodged in Union County Jail on $5.25 million bail. Anyone with additional information about Wyckoff’s death or the location of her remains is urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Det. Robert Henderson at 908-347-2686.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.