N.J. Woman Was Found Slain in Home — and Days Later, 'Person of Interest' Boyfriend Is Found Dead by Suicide

Sheila Maguire was an advocate for women and children who'd been abused

Sheila Maguire and Peter Lestician
Sheila Maguire and Peter Lestician. Photo: Sheila Maguire Facebook

Four days after a New Jersey mother of two was killed in her home, her boyfriend –- a longtime high school teacher who was named softball coach of the year in 2019 by the media company NJ.com — was found dead by apparent suicide near an abandoned Pennsylvania barn, say authorities.

On Aug. 29, police found the body Sheila Maguire, 54, a well-known advocate for women and children who'd been abused, inside her Florence Township home, Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L.Bradshaw said in a statement.

Prior to the discovery of her body, family members had asked police to conduct a welfare check because they'd been unable to reach her for a few days.

Sheila Maguire and Peter Lestician
Sheila Maguire and Peter Lestician. Sheila Maguire Facebook

Her death has since been ruled a homicide, Bradshaw and Florence Township Police Chief Brian Boldizar said in a statement. An autopsy determined that she died from blunt force trauma to the head.

On Sept. 2, four days after Maguire's body was found, police announced that Maguire's boyfriend, Peter Lestician, 53, who lived with Maguire, was found dead on Friday of an apparent suicide in Pennsylvania.

Family members told police they hadn't heard from Lestician since August 26.

Two men who were riding four-wheelers called police after they found a body in a locked car near an abandoned barn near an ATV trail in Cooper Township in Clearfield County, authorities said in the statement.

Lestician was found in the front seat of the vehicle. His New Jersey driver's license was located inside.

His vehicle was located in a desolate area of central Pennsylvania, about four-and-a-half hours from Florence Township.

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An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death, and also to confirm the identity of the body.

Lestician is believed to have been the last person to see Maguire, say authorities.

Sheila Maguire and Peter Lestician
Sheila Maguire and Peter Lestician. Sheila Maguire Facebook

"While he was a person of interest in Maguire's homicide, there was no evidence linking Lestician directly to the crime and charges had not been filed against him," the prosecutor and police chief said in the Sept. 3 statement.

Lestician was a longtime teacher at South Brunswick High School, and was and was named NJ.com's softball Coach of the Year in 2019 during his second season at Hightstown, NJ.com reports.

Maguire was a longtime advocate for women, children and families.

In her profile for Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, Maguire wrote, "My 25+ years of experience in Early Childhood have taken me from the classroom, to center administration, to training and coaching, and I am proud to help providers through the Grow NJ Kids process."

A GoFundMe set up for Maguire's daughters called her "a light."

"She was fun, positive, uplifting and supportive," the page states.

"Unfortunately, she was senselessly taken from all of us, but her daughters will carry the weight of this traumatic event forever. They lost their mom, who they loved dearly. Please help to make this easier for them by donating whatever you can to support them moving forward."

Police continue to investigate.

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