John Menendez was arrested Feb. 17 on suspicion of murdering Anna Shpilberg and Luiza Shinkarevskaya

By Naledi Ushe
February 19, 2021 05:51 PM
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Credit: Essex County Jail

Hudson County corrections officer John Menendez was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly murdering best friends Anna Shpilberg and Luiza Shinkarevskaya.

Menendez, 23, was booked by the Essex County Department of Corrections on two first degree murder charges and two counts of possession of a firearm for unlawful purpose, his arrest record at the Essex County Jail says.

The Essex County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

On Tuesday, the women were found in the Newark, New Jersey area with apparent gunshot wounds. They were pronounced dead on the scene, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and Newark Public Safety Department said in a statement.

Menendez and Shpilberg are suspected of having a "romantic relationship," according to the statement.

The Hudson County corrections officer allegedly admitted to killing both women when he was arrested.

"I killed both of them — just arrest me, bro," police say Menendez told officers, according to an affidavit obtained by the New York Post.

One officer wrote in the affidavit that the suspect said "he lost it and killed them."

Menendez was reportedly supposed to pick up best friends Shpilberg and Shinkarevskaya from the airport after a vacation, according to the affidavit. 

"[The witness] said Menendez was upset about his girlfriend going on vacation," police added in the court papers.

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Police wrote in the affidavit, "[Menendez] again said he 'killed her and her friend.' When the officer asked where she was, Menendez said she was in the car," according to the New York Post.

Authorities then found the women in nearby locations of the Newark Liberty International Airport. 

Shpilberg and Shinkarevskaya were both living in Brooklyn after coming to the U.S. from the Ukraine, according to NJ.com

The former is survived by her 15-year-old son. "He was the biggest love of her life," Shpilberg's ex-fiancé Fabian Goni told NJ.com.

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"We were on a break," Goni said. "She met this younger guy, but I still had her stuff in my house. I wanted her back. I'm still in love with her."

Goni and Shpilberg remained in touch for a while, but he described Menendez as "controlling" when they did speak. "He wanted texts and videos as proof of where she was," he claimed.

No bond has been set as of Friday. It is not immediately clear if Menendez has retained legal representation or has entered a plea at this time.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to aid the family of Shinkarevskaya with memorial and funeral expenses.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to aid Shpilberg's teenage son.