A Cranford mother who was killed last week was described by a childhood friend as witty and a very proud parent.
“She was beautiful, outspoken, funny,” a former
neighbor and friend, Kim Ferguson, said of April Wyckoff, who was allegedly
killed by her boyfriend in Union last week. “She loved her kids more than life
Ferguson lived around the block from Wyckoff in Kenilworth for a few years before Wyckoff moved back to Cranford earlier this year, she said.
Wyckoff, 43, was born in Cranford, but moved to Roselle and attended Abraham Clark High School before leaving to move back to Cranford her junior year and graduating from CHS in 1988, according to Ferguson.
Ferguson said Wyckoff has gone through a rough couple of years, but found happiness with her children, a 23-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter.
“She had a special relationship with each one in different ways,” Ferguson said. “Her daughter was her heart. She was so proud of her son.”
In addition to her undying love for her children, Wyckoff was also funny, Ferguson added.
“She had a crazy funny side to her,” she explained.
Ferguson said Wyckoff was passionate about photography. About a month ago, Ferguson spoke to Wyckoff and the two were going to set up a time to meet at the Sun Tavern to catch up before the holidays.
“This is just a horribly disturbing and heartbreaking event in our lives,” she said. “Something only in the news, never expect it to become our reality.”
Neighbors of Matthew Ballister, who has been charged with first-degree murder
for the alleged killing of Wyckoff in his home, told NJ.com he was brilliant
and helpful, but had a nasty temper. Ballister pleaded not guilty Monday in his first court appearance in
Elizabeth in front
of Judge Joan Robinson Gross, according to NJ.com.
Authorities searched for days before recovering "sufficient human remains" Sunday near the Passaic River off of the 100 block of Raymond Boulevard in Newark that were able to be identified as Wyckoff, according to Mark Spivey, a spokesman for the Union County Prosecutor's Office.
Spivey said authorities are continuing to search for the "remaining portions of her body." Spivey declined to comment further on the condition of Wyckoff's body.
Spivey said the search areas include Hudson, Union and Essex counties, including parts of Jersey City and Newark. Authorities searched all weekend for Wyckoff's body, including at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
Ballister's mother, Eleanor Schofield, 70, of Mountainside, was released from Union County Jail Friday on $1,500 bail, according to NJ.com. Schofield has been charged with hindering apprehension for allegedly helping her son conceal evidence following the killing, the prosecutor's office said.
Authorities were seen on Saturday searching the Watchung Reservation near Schofield's home, according to NJ.com. Authorities on the scene referred questions to the prosecutor's office, which would not confirm if that area in Scotch Plains was part of the search for Wyckoff's body, the article said.
Wyckoff is believed to have been killed from blunt-force trauma. Wyckoff, who divorced her husband in 2010, lived on Berkley Place in Cranford with her son and daughter.