Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police today announced the arrest of Alan McGinnis, 20, of Pemberton, in the death of Cody MacPherson whose remains were discovered in the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area this past March.
According to authorities, on September 24th 2017, Pemberton Township Police Detectives filed a missing person report for Cody MacPherson, 20, who recently moved to Browns Mills from Portage, Indiana.
Officials said on Mar. 19th , at 1:32 p.m., the Jackson Township Police Department received a call from Richard Byrne, a District Warden with the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Warden Byrne was conducting a controlled burn in the area between 433 and 483 South Stump Tavern Road in the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area. Police said that as Warden Byrne prepared the area for the burn when he observed human remains under logs close to the area of the burn.
He then moved closer and noticed what he believed to be a human skull. Warden Byrne then contacted his supervisor via radio and requested a suppression team to respond to put out the burn in the area to preserve the evidence.
Detectives from the New Jersey State Police Homicide Unit were contacted, and Detective Shaun Clark was assigned to work the investigation with the Major Crime Homicide Unit of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Initial identification was made showing that the remains found were most likely those of Cody MacPherson, the missing person out of Burlington County.
According to authorities, on Mar. 20th, at 10 a.m., a Post Mortem Examination was conducted at Community Medical Center's in Toms River. The Forensic Pathologist assigned was Dr. Dante Ragasa, who received assistance from Anna Delaney, a Forensic Anthropologist, and Dr. Stewart Alexander, a Forensic Odonatologist. Subsequent to the examination, Dr. Ragasa ruled the cause of death to be a stab wound to the left abdomen and the manner of death to be homicide. Dr. Alexander took photographs and X-rays of the teeth, and determined that all dental work observed was consistent with the records obtained for the missing person, Cody MacPherson.
Officials said on April 17, 2017, D/Sgt. Joseph Itri of the NJSP was contacted by Anna Delaney, a Forensic Anthropologist, who informed him that the NJSP Laboratory positively identified the remains found in Jackson Township to be those of Cody MacPherson by DNA analysis.
Police said that on Apr. 21st at approximately 0600 hours, two residential search warrants were executed in Pemberton Township and Jackson Township.
The investigation revealed that during the early hours of September 24, 2017, Alan McGinnis of Pemberton, allegedly stabbed Cody MacPherson multiple times at the residence of 234 Pardee Blvd in Pemberton Township. McGinnis then used a vehicle available at the residence to transport the victim in the trunk to the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area on South Stump Tavern Road in Jackson. McGinnis later traveled back to Pemberton where the scene was cleaned of visible blood and other evidence of the murder.
According to authorities, approximately one week later, the suspect returned to the site in which he disposed of the victim to destroy evidence associated with the crime.
Authorities on Apr. 21st , charged Alan McGinnis with murder, kidnapping, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, improper disposal of human remains, and destruction of evidence. He is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail.