Fugitive Caught, Charged With Strangling Victim

Juan Santiago-Rojas (Photo courtesy Ocean County Jail)

  POINT PLEASANT – A 31-year-old man has been charged with assaulting and strangling a victim to the point of unconsciousness, officials said.

  Juan Santiago-Rojas of Point Pleasant was charged with Attempted Murder in connection with an incident that occurred in the borough on August 22, 2022.

  Officers found an unconscious women with serious injuries to her head and neck area in a home in Butler Avenue. The victim was thereafter transported to Hackensack Meridian Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township, officials said. However, due to the nature and extent of her injuries, she was transferred to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where she was treated and eventually released.

  Authorities determined that the victim was assaulted by Santiago-Rojas, and he was initially charged with Aggravated Assault. Subsequently, a warrant was issued for his arrest and he was entered into the National Crime Information Center database as a fugitive.

  On December 8, 2023, Santiago-Rojas was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities in Wilmington, North Carolina.

  On January 12, Santiago-Rojas was extradited to New Jersey, and is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

  Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer acknowledged the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, Major Crime Unit, and High Tech Crime Squad, Point Pleasant Police, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, Belmar Police, South River Police, and Wilmington (N.C.) Police, for their collective efforts in connection with this investigation, ultimately leading to Santiago-Rojas’ apprehension.

  The charges referenced are merely accusations and the public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.