Man arrested after body found near soccer field

SOUTHAMPTON TWP., N.J. - September 14, 2010

Stephen Headley, 28, of the 500 block of Station Road in Florence, N.J. has been charged with the murder of 22-year-old Nicole Ayres of Westville, N.J.

An autopsy revealed that Ayres was stabbed multiple times in the head, neck and back.

The murder is believed to have occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, September 13, 2010, police said.

Ayres' body was found on a pathway leading to a municipal athletic field complex on Buddstown Road in Southampton Township around 10:30 a.m.

On Monday night, police say Stephen Headley asked his grandmother, a resident of Medford Township, to drive him to his mother's house in Pemberton Township because he wanted to meet with the two of them.

Police say during that meeting with his mother and grandmother, he fled the house and ran into the road, where he was hit by a pickup truck.

Headley was airlifted to Capital Health System, Fuld Campus in Trenton, N.J., where he is being treated for a fractured back, two fractured ankles and multiple fractured ribs. He will have a first appearance in Burlington County Superior Court upon his release from the hospital.

Police say the case remains under investigation. Police will not say where Ayres was murdered, but several local departments are assisting in the investigation.

"We have collected numerous pieces of evidence and that evidence is being analyzed as we speak to try to determine the specific circumstances regarding Ms. Ayres death, which would involve where she actually died," said Sgt. Geoff Noble of the NJ State Police.

Whether Headley and Ayres knew each other is unclear.

Authorities say her family reported her missing to police in Deptford on Monday, and they entered her information into a national database.

"In this case we did come up with a match. Our detectives were able to match our decedent, the murdered girl, with reports that had been entered in by her family through Deptford Police," said Sgt. Stephen Jones of the NJ State Police.

Ayres was a Deptford High School graduate was later the softball rookie of the year at Fordham University in New York.

Ayres had left Fordham University after the 2008 spring season and was registered for a full slate of classes this fall as a sociology major at Rutgers-Camden, according to officials there.

She was planning on playing softball with Rutgers-Camden in the spring of 2011.

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