Prosecutor announcing arrest in homeless man’s murder

Story taken from South Jersey Times article by Caitlyn Stulpin

WOODBURY — The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office will hold a press conference announcing charges in the 2016 murder of a homeless man.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office has scheduled a press conference to talk about a person in custody who has been charged in connection with the death of 61-year-old Sylvester “Buttons” Combs Jr., a homeless man whose body was found in a trailer at an abandoned Swedesboro business.

On April 6, 2016 Combs had been missing for several days when body was found just around 11 a.m. Investigators ruled it a homicide and said he had sustained multiple blunt force injuries to his head.

His death came as a surprise to many. At the time of the murder, those interviewed noted that Combs “didn’t pose a threat,” and “didn’t bother anybody.” Many locals to the area would give him clothes and food, sometimes they would even put him up in a hotel or let him sleep in their own homes on cold nights.

After his death, local businesses collected money to give Combs a proper funeral and a reward of $5,000 was offered for information.

Reward for info regarding murder of Sylvester “Buttons” Combs increased to $5000

Swedesboro Borough Council has approved an additional $2,500 to raise total reward money for information regarding the death of Sylvester “Buttons” Combs to $5,000.

Combs, 61, a homeless man who was known throughout Swedesboro, was found dead in an abandoned commercial trailer on April 6. He suffered multiple head injuries and his death has been ruled a homicide.

An investigation by the Woolwich Township Police Department and the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office is ongoing. The prosecutor’s office previously offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible and the borough’s additional $2,500 will be added to that reward. Continue reading article from South Jersey Times.

In a recent letter to residents, Mayor Fromm stated, “Violent crime is extremely rare in Swedesboro and we are struggling to deal with this tragedy. This just doesn’t happen in our town. I am in constant contact with Chief Jaramillo to get updates on the intense investigation underway by numerous law enforcement agencies to find the animal(s) who committed this heinous act. It is my hope that ultimately the investigation will conclude that this was an isolated crime and not a random act. The Chief has assured me that police patrols have been significantly increased throughout the town and that both uniformed and non-uniformed officers are involved.

The police need our help with the investigation, so if you observed anything suspicious that could aid in the investigation please call the Woolwich Police or you can send information anonymously to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s office at Please help in any way you can.”

Anyone with information about Combs, or had seen him between April 2 and April 6, is asked to contact Det. Greg Malesich of the GCPO at 856-384-5626 or Det. Chris Beckett of the Woolwich PD at 856-467-1667 ext. 1224.

Crime Report – October

A 32 year old Clayton man was arrested on outstandingwarrants and possession of marijuana after being stopped on High Hill Road for walking in the roadway.

A construction company working at an Auburn Road construction site reported that someone broke into their utility trailer and stole numerous power tools.

A 36 year old Sicklerville man was arrested for striking a Mullica Hill man in the face with a closed fist during a dispute on Regals Court.

A 23 year old Ocean City man was arrested for DWI and possession of marijuana, after crashing into a yield sign while navigating around the circle located at Kings Highway and Center Square Road.  

A 21 year old Woolwich man was arrested on outstanding warrants and possession of marijuana, during the course of an investigation on Kings Highway.    

A 21 year old Brick Township man was arrested for possession of marijuana after a drug investigation on Broad Street.

A 19 year old Woolwich man was arrested for possession of cocaine during the course of an investigation on Paulsboro Road.

A 25 year old Woolwich man was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after being stopped on Woodstown Road.

Beazer Homes reported the theft of 2 air-conditioning units from new a construction on Auburn Road.

Unknown suspects vandalized numerous pieces of playground equipment at Locke Avenue Park. 

A Quinton Court resident reported their vehicle was burglarized after being left unlocked overnight. The theft yielded multiple pieces of identification, A Coach purse and approximately $800.00 in US Currency.
A 44 year old Philadelphia man attempted to pass a fraudulent $100.00 bill at the WAWA located on Paulsboro Road. He was subsequently arrested and charged after a cooperative investigation with a neighboring police department. 
A Kingsway High School student was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana on school property, subsequent to a CDS investigation at the athletic fields.
A Yorktown Road resident reported a bicycle stolen from their garage overnight. The bicycle is described as a 20′ Diamondback mountain bike, burgundy in color with white iPod dock on the handle bars.
A vehicle was reported stolen after being taken, without force, at the intersection of Kings Highway and Church Street. Subsequent investigations led to the vehicle being recovered a short time later on Viereck Road. Charges are pending for the suspect, a juvenile Swedesboro resident. 
A Helms Avenue resident reported a day time burglary to their residence. The unknown suspect(s) entered through a window and targeted jewelry and credit cards.
A Kings Highway resident reported a Poulan snow blower stolen from the rear of their residence.
A Second Street resident reported a Craftsman leaf blower stolen from their pick-up truck while parked in the driveway.

Crime Log – July

A Maple Hill Drive resident reported a theft of a cell phone, jewelry, and other items from their vehicle while parked at the Margaret Clifford School.

AT&T reported a theft of copper wire from their cell tower site on Davidson Road.

A Pondview Drive resident reported that items were stolen from their pickup truck.

A Harrisonville Road resident reported that someone burglarized their residence and unsuccessfully attempted to steal the wheels and tires from a vehicle.

A 22 year old Swedesboro man was arrested on outstanding warrants and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia during a motor vehicle stop.

An Elkton MD man was arrested for possession of marijuana and brass knuckles during a motor vehicle stop on US Route 322.

A Mullica Hill man was arrested for DWI after being seen urinating on Back Creek Road.

Three Pennsville men were charged with criminal trespass and theft after stealing $30,000 in materials from Grasso Foods.

Three subjects were charged with aggravated assault, assault by auto, and hindering apprehension in connection with a hit and run that took place on Gentry Drive.

A 21 year old Mullica Hill man was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia during a motor vehicle stop on Woodstown Road.

A 29 year old South Harrison woman was arrested for DWI after a citizen contacted police reporting a suspected intoxicated driver on US Route 322.

A US Route 322 resident reported that someone stole his AC unit from his residence.

A 19 year old Woolwich man was arrested on outstanding warrants and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia during a motor vehicle stop.

Two Ramona Lane residents reported that their car tires were slashed overnight.

A Glen Echo Avenue resident reported that someone stole 5 crab traps from their property.

A 54 year old Egg Harbor City man was charged with 12 counts of theft after stealing jewelry from a residence on Licciardello Drive.