What apparently began as a night out on the town with her estranged partner and the father of her two children, ended in terror and death for Norelis Mendoza on a desolate Jersey City road in the early hours of Mother’s day.
With the help of security cameras, a detective has described in chilling detail the last brutal moments of Mendoza’s life.
According to the detective’s affidavit, Mendoza and Gregory Mallard, with whom she shared two young children and a troubled relationship punctuated by violence, spent two hours together at the American Dream Mall on the night of May 13th. The detective does not describe how the two passed their time.
At 12:30 a.m., with Mallard at the wheel of Mendoza’s Blue Dodge RAM, the couple then left, apparently headed for Jersey City. They were next spotted at 1:00 a.m. outside a bar on Bay Street, Downtown. At 2:04 a.m. the pair was once again on the move. At 3:53 a.m., a video camera spotted them across town at a McDonald’s on Communipaw Avenue. The two left the McDonald’s at 4:20 a.m.
It is on Burma Road, a north-south thoroughfare lined by warehouses and businesses near Liberty State Park, where the couple was next seen and where the 32-year-old mother’s evening with Mallard came to its shattering conclusion.
The detective describes video footage from a nearby camera:
“Detectives obtained video surveillance from Burma Rd in Jersey City which at approximately 4:31 AM depicts Mendoza running towards the intersection of Burma Rd and Thomas McGovern Avenue and being struck by the Blue Dodge Ram from behind. Mendoza is then seen standing and running back past the vehicle. The Blue Dodge RAM makes a U-turn and again strikes Mendoza driving over her. Mallard is observed exiting the vehicle and placing Mendoza in the passenger side.”
The Blue Dodge was next seen in the area of the railroad tracks that cross John F. Kennedy Boulevard between 5:22 a.m. and 5:43 a.m.
At 8:51 a.m. on Mother’s Day, a video camera captured Mallard on 63rd Street in Bayonne washing and vacuuming the interior and exterior of the Blue Dodge.
Mendoza’s family reported her missing that day.
Three days later, her body was discovered in the wooded area next to the railroad crossing J.F.K. Boulevard. She was pronounced dead, her injuries consistent with those of a person who has been struck by a vehicle.
On May 19, Mallard, 35, was arrested and charged with murder. According to The Jersey Journal, he had served 10 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter and is reputed to be a member of the “52 Hoover Street Crips” gang. Said the police Incident Report, Mallard “has a history of stalking, harassment, or terroristic threats.” At some point, according to the family, Mendoza had sought a restraining order against him.
In a GoFundMe page set up to benefit Mendoza’s daughters, her sister, Thalia, described the effect of Norelis’s death on her family.
“We are left with her beautiful daughters and will raise them with her legacy of love and kindness. They are one and three years old and need all the love and support they can get. She enjoyed being a mom and did everything for her daughters. During this whole ordeal her daughters have cried for her everyday.”
Note: Local resources for those in need of help with domestic violence are available here. You can also call the New Jersey hotline at 1-800-572-SAFE (7233). In the case of an emergency call 911.