2 charged in young mom's death

January 20, 2008 8:53:23 PM PST
Police in New Jersey have charged two men, including the victim's uncle, in connection with the murder of a young mother.

Authorities charged 25-year-old Douglas Mandichak of the 200 block of Linwood Avenue in Maple Shade with murder Sunday night. The victim's uncle, Christopher Mikels, 26, of the 6500 block of Rudderow was charged as an accomplice to murder. Both were in police custody Sunday night.

Police detectives believe at some point Friday night 17-year-old Felicia Mikels, Christopher Mikels and Mandichak met at the parking lot of a business in Pennsauken. Subsequently Felicia Mikels was beaten to death with a blunt object. The circumstances that led to the killing are still under investigation.

Christopher Mikels and Mandichak allegedly dumped Felicia Mikels' body in Pennsauken Creek in Cinnaminson off North Fork Landing Road. Investigators believe Christopher Mikels and Mandichak abandoned the baby in Cherry Hill after disposing of Felicia Mikels' body. Investigators ended their search of the creek at around 6 p.m. and plan to continue the search on Monday.

Mikels and her 3-week-old daughter disappeared late Friday night. Early Saturday, after her father made repeated calls to her, her family reported her missing and immediately feared the worst.

"I would try back later and it wouldn't ring at all. It was like someone was turning the phone off and turning it on. So I knew something happened," said her father James Mikels.

Felicia's sister, Laura Huggins tells us, "I think something happened. They set her up somehow. She was texting someone all day Friday and she said, 'No, don't worry about it."

Concern only grew for the family when Mikels' baby was found in a Cherry Hill yard. A passing motorist found the baby bundled in blankets in a car seat. He immediately called police and fortunately the baby was fine. But the search for her mother continued.

Chad Pradelli will have a LIVE report on Action News at 11.