For more than 30 years, the killers of five teens who vanished from a Newark street walked among us. Then, just like that, detectives swooped in this week and arrested the pair they say are responsible for murdering the boys and then burning their remains to destroy the evidence.
One of the two was originally suspected in the boys’ 1978 disappearance. The other — possibly unable to live any longer with what he had done — wasn’t identified.
What authorities didn’t know at the time, but now understand, is that the boys were taken into an abandoned Camden Street house that their captors’ torched.
The case was cracked by a team of Newark and New Jersey State police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Two 17-year-old boys, Melvin Pittman and Ernest Taylor, along with 16-year-olds Alvin Turner, Randy Johnson, and Michael McDowell reportedly were spotted the night of the killings playing basketball near West Side Park. Four were from Newark; McDowell had just moved to East Orange.
They were last seen on the corner of Clinton Avenue and Fabyan Place.
To think that their families waited more than 30 years for these phone calls. The drama of this story is only just beginning.
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