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UPDATE: PA Woman Faces Two Consecutive Life Sentences in Prison for Surf City Murders

Ocean County

By: Najla Alexander 

Authorities in Ocean County announced that on May 10, the Honorable Kimarie Rahill, J.S.C., sentenced Sherry Lee Heffernan, 57, of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, to two consecutive life sentences in New Jersey State Prison in connection with the murders of John Enders and Francois Pitoy in Surf City on or about September 29, 2021.AdOcean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said Heffernan was found guilty of the aforementioned charges on March 1, following a nearly four-week-long jury trial before Judge Rahill.

Officials stated that on October 3, 2021, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Officers from the Surf City Police Department responded to a residence on North 7th Street to conduct a welfare check on the residents.

When they arrived, officials say, officers located the bodies of John Enders, 87, of Surf City, and Francoise Pitoy, 75, of Manchester; it was readily apparent that both victims were already deceased.

According to officials, on October 4, 2021, the Ocean County Medical Examiner performed a post-mortem examination of Mr. Enders and determined the cause of his death to be multiple stab wounds with severance of the right carotid artery and blunt force trauma; the manner of death was ruled to be a homicide.AdA post-mortem examination of Ms. Pitoy performed on October 5, 2021, determined the cause of her death to be multiple stab wounds as well as a gunshot wound to the face; the manner of her death was likewise ruled a homicide, officials said. 

Based upon the gunshot wound to Ms. Pitoy, officials say, the Medical Examiner performed an additional examination of Mr. Enders and found that he had also suffered a gunshot wound to the face.

Officials stated that an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Surf City Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that the victims were involved in a dating relationship and that Mr. Enders was the primary owner of the residence.

Ms. Pitoy stayed with him at the residence regularly, officials say. 

Authorities say the cooperative investigation ultimately determined that Heffernan - Mr. Enders’ daughter - was responsible for the deaths of both Mr. Enders and Ms. Pitoy.

According to officials, on October 4, 2021, Heffernan was taken into custody by the Pennsylvania State Police at her residence in Landenberg, Pennsylvania.AdOfficials say that on October 20, 2021, Heffernan returned to New Jersey and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since that date.

“This defendant will spend the rest of her life in prison. This is an appropriate sentence and we are hopeful that this brings some measure of closure to the family and friends of John and Francois,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.