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Three Charged, Two Collared for Toms River Heroin Death

(L-R) Pedro Valentin, Paul Robinson and Rufus Young
(L-R) Pedro Valentin, Paul Robinson and Rufus Young (Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office)

Two suspects are in custody and another is sought, all accused of enabling a 23-year-old woman to die of a heroin overdose in Toms River in February 2013.

Paul E. Robinson, 24, of Toms River, Rufus Young, 41, of Freehold, and Pedro Valentin Jr., 23, of Perth Amboy, face charges in connection with the death of Jamie Caravella of Toms River.

All are charged with first-degree drug-induced death and second-degree manslaughter, according to information from Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little. Valentin and Robinson also face heroin distribution counts. Bail for each stands at $200,000 cash.

Young was served with his arrest warrant Tuesday in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold, where he’s been held since last March on federal drug charges. Valentin was cuffed Tuesday night in Perth Amboy.

Robinson is a fugitive. Anyone who can help investigators track him down should contact Ocean County Detective John Carroll, 732-929-2027.

The history of the case goes back to a 911 call to Toms River police at 5:07 AM on February 6, 2013, of an unresponsive female in a dwelling on Pine Crest Drive.

Responding officers found Caravella prone on the floor, with neither breath nor pulse, near several empty heroin bags and a hypodermic needle, police said. She was pronounced dead within 20 minutes by phone with Newark Beth Israel Hospital, authorities said.

An autopsy the following day provided a “critical” piece of evidence needed to substantiate the charges against Young, Valentin and Robinson, authorities said, stopping short of identifying it. Cause of death was ruled a negative reaction to heroin.

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