23-year-old Marisa Rivera, of New Jersey, is accused of stabbing her mother to death early Friday morning

By KC Baker
September 09, 2019 03:02 PM
Marisa Rivera, 23, of Mount Laurel, New Jersey

A 23-year-old New Jersey woman is facing murder charges after allegedly fatally stabbing her mother in the middle of the night on Friday – as investigators try to determine why.

Marisa Rivera of Mount Laurel in South Jersey is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the fatal stabbing of Denise DeNapoli, 56, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Mount Laurel Township Police Chief Stephen Riedener said in a joint statement obtained by PEOPLE.

The alleged fatal stabbing came to light on Friday morning when DeNapoli’s employer asked police to conduct a wellness check at her apartment in Mount Laurel after her co-workers couldn’t reach her, the statement says.

Inside the apartment, Mount Laurel Township officers made a horrific discovery when they found DeNapoli’s body.

She had allegedly been stabbed to death, authorities said.

On Friday night, investigators tracked down Rivera at a nearby hotel and arrested her.

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She is accused of killing her mother at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Friday and then fleeing the apartment, authorities said.

The motive continues to be investigated, say officials.

No other details have been released.

DeNapoli’s Facebook page shows a 2015 picture of her and what appears to be Rivera in happier times, with the younger woman’s arm around her mother and the caption, “Best Mom.”

Rivera appeared in Superior Court in Mount Holly on Saturday, when the prosecutor requested a detention hearing.

She remains held at the Burlington County Jail.

Rivera has not yet entered a plea. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney who can comment on her behalf.

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