63-Year-Old Westville Man Charged with 2016 Murder

Acting Gloucester County Prosecutor Christine A. Hoffman is announcing the March 12, 2020 arrest of Michael Zappley, 63, of Westville, for the offenses of Murder (1st Degree), Desecration of Remains (2nd Degree) and Tampering with Evidence (4th Degree).

Officials say on June 15, 2016, Miguel Martinez III was reported as a missing person to the Deptford Township Police Department. Believing that Martinez’s disappearance was suspicious in nature, the Deptford Township Police Department initiated an exhaustive criminal investigation, in close cooperation with the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office and multiple law enforcement agencies.

Ongoing investigative efforts led to establishing Martinez’s alleged murder during June, 2016 at A & J Auto Body, State Highway #47, Deptford, N.J.

During the week of February 3, 2020, multiple search warrants were executed in Deptford Township, including a wooded area adjacent to Fox Run Road.

At the Fox Run Road location, human remains, alleged to be those of Miguel Martinez III, were recovered.

On March 11, 2020, Michael Zappley disclosed his direct involvement in Martinez’s murder at A & J Auto Body, as well as his participation in the removal, desecration and concealment of Martinez’s body, the remains of which are alleged to have been recovered at the Fox Run Road site.

Michael Zappley was processed and lodged at the Salem County Correctional Facility, pending Court action.

Acting Prosecutor Hoffman stated, “Zappley’s arrest was a direct result of exemplary police work, professionalism and never giving up, providing a sense of clarity and justice for members of the Martinez family.”