Police ID body found in suitcase in Egg Harbor Township

EGG HARBOR TWP., N.J. - January 8, 2014

The victim has been identified as 30-year-old Tara Rogers Alicea of Monroeville, New Jersey.

The remains were found at approximately 1:30 p.m. Sunday by a hunting party in the woods behind the Shore Mall site near Broadway Avenue.

"She was not a bad person. Just because our kids get involved with drugs, doesn't make them bad," said Sona Turner.

Sona Turner mourns the loss of her daughter, Tara Rogers-Alicea, a 31-year-old mother of three.

Alicea's remains were found stuffed in a suitcase late Sunday in Egg Harbor Township by a Margate policeman who was deer hunting in the woods on private property.

Police say the victim was initially identified from photographs of tattoos released to the public.

Detectives confirmed the identity based on finger print analysis. DNA analysis is also in progress.

The New Jersey Medical Examiner's Office has ruled the cause of Alicea's death as asphyxiation with strangulation and ruled her death a homicide.

Alicea, a licensed medical assistant, had not contacted her family since the summer. She told her friends she was staying at the Borgata's Water Club in Atlantic City.

Her family says they knew she was addicted to heroin and hanging with a bad crowd in Atlantic City.

"She was loved by everybody. She was a great mother. She just had that sickness, that illness, and it just overwhelmed her, and she just couldn't get rid of it," said Turner.

Relatives had reported Alicea missing in October. A family friend told them he saw her in a casino in late November.

The homicide is under investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Unit in conjunction with the Egg Harbor Township Police Department.

Police and family members are asking the public for help.

"If they know anything, please come forward and let police know, because they are investigating. Any help they can get would be very much appreciated," said Jack Alicea, former brother-in-law.

Anyone who has any information pertaining to this case or has noticed any suspicious activity in the area is asked to call the Major Crimes Unit at 609-909-7666.

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