Police: Case of Murdered Maplewood Teen Has Not ‘Gone Cold’; Reward Rises to $50K

by Carolyn Parisi
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Editor’s note: anyone with any information about the murder of Moussa Fofana can contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office confidential hotline at 877-TIPS-4EC (877-847-7432), or submit information confidentially to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office Crimestoppers program.

It has been just over five weeks since 18-year-old Moussa Fofana, a Columbia High School junior and aspiring professional soccer player, was shot and killed at Underhill Field.

Yet despite a vigil, a protest, and a reward that is now at $50,000, police still have not made any arrests or released the names of any suspects since Fofana was shot while walking through the field with two friends on the night of June 6.

“I want to reassure the community that this is an active investigation,” said Maplewood Police Chief Jim DeVaul last Friday. “The public should not make assumptions that the case has gone cold or that it is not our top priority. I communicate regularly with Mayor [Frank] McGehee on case updates that can be shared.” DeVaul also said the Essex County Prosecutors Office continues to communicate with Fofana’s family.

Fofana’s mother, Hawa, recently gave an interview to People magazine pleading for answers. “…that’s my prayer — that somebody comes forward and there is justice. I want to understand — why? What did Moussa do to you?,” she asked.

“It is important to know there are many moving parts to this investigation that are happening behind the scene,” said DeVaul. “The reality is many of these things take time to develop. I want to say that it is equally important that the investigation is conducted in a professional and thoughtful manner. We all want justice for Moussa and his family. We need to get this right. The victims and family members deserve nothing less.”

Village Green has repeatedly reached out to Essex County Chief Asst. Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly, and has also reached out to the family’s attorney, Rich Pompelio for more information on the case.

Meanwhile, the South Orange-Maplewood School District, which owns Underhill Field and has come under scrutiny for security lapses at the site, recently announced the field would be closed to the public as the district moves ahead with “security upgrades.”

A GoFundMe set up for the family has raised more than $128,000.

Village Green will continue to follow this story.

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