Longtime Couple Remembered as Accused Killer Claims Innocence



DYNAMIC: Friends are remembering Francoise ‘Frenchie’ Pitoy as a dynamo who had a hat for practically each outfit – the far more rhinestones the improved. She and John ‘Jack’ Enders (pictured) appreciated to keep hands as they walked all-around Surf City. (Provided Photographs)
Mid-morning Monday, at the close of North Seventh Road in Surf Town, the choppy water of Manahawkin Bay churned relentlessly in front of a vacant two-story, one-family home with a genuine estate for sale signal in the yard. Design vehicles dotted the normally peaceful avenue, a contrast to the police activity a 7 days prior following a longtime couple was located stabbed to death in the bayfront residence.
Borough police found out the bodies of John “Jack” Enders, 87, and Francoise “Frenchie” Pitoy, 75, on the afternoon of Oct. 3 all through a welfare check right after Pitoy’s daughter was unable to get in contact with her mother. Equally victims have been presently deceased when officers arrived, struggling from several and noticeable stab wounds. Enders’ daughter, Sherry Lee Heffernan, 55, of Landenberg, Pa., was charged with two counts of murder in their deaths Oct. 5.
“They were excellent alongside one another,” said John Gofus, a friend and neighbor of the longtime unmarried pair. He lives a couple of doors down and was a repeated visitor to the home to check out sunsets and just chat about nearly anything, every thing. “They complemented just about every other. They had been the perfect match.”
He explained the pair satisfied a year immediately after Enders’ wife died and “just hit it off.”
“Jack would give you the shirt off his back,” Gofus reported of his close friend of four a long time, recalling how Enders’ kitchen refrigerator was embellished with artwork from the grandchildren of a further neighbor.
Enders, at age 80, changed the bulkhead at the conclude of North Seventh Avenue to mitigate flooding on the residential road, in accordance to Gofus. Enders, he claimed, knew how to do the perform himself, having a degree in mechanical engineering.
“He saw a need, knew something had to be completed and, wondering absolutely nothing of it, just did it,” he said.
Offering: John ‘Jack’ Enders is being remembered for his generosity of spirit and time. Good friends say he loved little ones and beloved to share his understanding with them about a frequent desire. He also cherished to cook dinner and constantly designed confident he whipped up one thing Francoise ‘Frenchie’ Pitoy favored to eat.
When other neighbors chipped in funds, the undertaking ran Enders tens of 1000’s of pounds, but that’s just the sort of guy Enders was, Gofus reported.
“He is 1 of our favorite buyers in the pharmacy,” said Jenna Humphries, who understood Enders by way of her perform at the Manahawkin Costco. “He experienced a smile that was so contagious. No issue what variety of mood you had been in, as soon as you saw or read Mr. Enders’ voice, you promptly smiled and needed to go see him and talk to him.”
She reported he would prevent by the pharmacy, even if he had no prescriptions, just to communicate and check out on the workers to make certain they had been executing Alright.
“He was this kind of a delighted, sort, mild, caring man with a enormous heart,” Humphries claimed. “He will be deeply missed by us at Costco. We are so unfortunate about his passing. May he rest in peace.”
Katie Rose’s grandparents, Eleanor and William Burns, were near buddies with Enders and Pitoy. Alongside with two other couples, all deceased now, the near-knit social circle usually went to evening meal, household occasions and get-togethers with each other, in accordance to Rose.
“Us grandchildren (all of us in our late 30s, early 40s now) loved to trip our bikes in excess of to North Seventh Road and invest time with Jack and other relatives buddies, crabbing off Jack’s dock,” she claimed.
On Oct. 5, the Surf Metropolis Volunteer Fireplace Co. and EMS posted a tribute to Pitoy, a member of the Girls Auxiliary, indicating, “Our hearts are broken as we recall the light-weight, like and laughter that Frenchie introduced to us.”
“She was a extremely variety, sweet man or woman who would do just about anything for everyone,” a friend of Pitoy, who wished to stay nameless, stated Sunday night.
Rose called Pitoy courteous, pleasant, pleasant and engaging.
“She was from France and spoke fluent French and experienced the most stunning French accent,” said Rose, who lives in Cincinnati but nonetheless has family on the Island. “I recall striving to observe my French with her, while, even just after numerous a long time of classes, I couldn’t preserve up.”
Rose explained her grandmother, who passed absent in 2014, adored Pitoy and the two would typically have a glass of wine or a cup of espresso together.
“My grandmother spoke so hugely of both of them,” she stated. “It’s just all extremely tragic.”
Gofus said the few was hunting forward to the upcoming section of their lifestyle collectively, which provided finalizing the sale of the bayfront residence and shifting, at the very least for a time, to Pitoy’s home in Whiting.
The solitary-relatives property, which has 6 bedrooms and four baths in more than 2,500 square feet, was set on the sector previously this calendar year and the sale at $1.9 million was pending as of early very last month, according to Berkshire Hathaway Zach Realtors, which has the listing. It was 1st detailed Might 24. That arrived just four days immediately after a transfer of ownership from a have faith in to Enders as the sole operator, a assessment of home documents shows.
The sale of the dwelling is considered to have been the catalyst for the double murder, according to the affidavit of probable lead to signed by Surf City Sgt. Victor Rice towards Heffernan Oct. 5, introduced to the push by Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Dina Khajazadeh’s place of work, subsequent a general public information ask for. Heffernan was taken into custody by Pennsylvania Condition Law enforcement at her home and charged with two counts of murder. Heffernan was also charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful goal and illegal possession of a weapon.
Heffernan had been estranged from her father for the past couple of years, refusing to get cellphone calls, answer to emails and returning letters unopened, Gofus stated in a phone job interview Sunday afternoon.
“When she listened to Jack was marketing, she started off achieving out to Frenchie about the residence,” he stated.
In an interview with law enforcement, Gofus reported Enders instructed him Heffernan, a genuine estate agent, grew to become “disgruntled” when he would not allow her promote the property, in accordance to the affidavit. He also explained to police Enders left Heffernan and his older daughter, who had been estranged from him for nearly two decades, out of his final living will and testomony inside the past month, the affidavit reads.
“At no time was there any sign that something like this could transpire,” Gofus stated Sunday, a week after he watched from his window as law enforcement descended on the avenue with a concentration at the dwelling of his buddies.
If he experienced adopted his frequent program of offering Pitoy her mail from Whiting, which he picked up often on his way again from Trenton, the place his career is, Gofus would have walked into the residence on Saturday, Oct. 2, like any other day. He did not and on the afternoon of Oct. 3, Surf Town law enforcement observed by way of a rear window of the household what appeared to be a deceased male sitting down in a recliner, the affidavit reads. The officers then approached the front of the dwelling, in which they spotted the physique of a different particular person on the landing of the stairs, in accordance to the affidavit.
Heffernan’s son, Joseph “JJ,” informed legislation enforcement he final noticed his grandfather in May possibly at his graduation and that his mom went to LBI on a trip he termed “a midnight dash” Sept. 28 or Sept. 29, according to the affidavit. JJ Heffernan also explained to authorities his mother was the only driver of the Winnebago parked at their dwelling and would drive it to LBI, the affidavit reads.
“In relation to the current trip, Sherry stopped at Keller Williams Realty, then at her father’s dwelling and then went to the seaside to choose photographs with her cell cellular phone,” in accordance to the affidavit. “On her way again, she stopped at the farmer’s industry and then went dwelling. On top of that, Sherry known as Heffernan on her way back again but did not explain to him the goal of the journey, which he discovered concerning.”
Heffernan’s son also said words to the result of “I just can’t think she did this” and text pertaining to “building a case” versus his mother, according to the affidavit.
On Oct. 8, Sherry Lee Heffernan appeared in advance of a Chester County judge, agreeing to waive her rights concerning extradition and declaring afterward that she is becoming framed for the fatalities of her father and Pitoy, according to posted stories from Pennsylvania.
The evidence in opposition to Heffernan outlined in the affidavit implies or else. At close to 4:48 a.m., Sept. 29, surveillance footage of the Causeway Bridge captured a white RV heading eastbound towards the Island. About 10 minutes later on, a Ring doorbell camera captured the very same RV approaching the victims’ dwelling on North Seventh Avenue, in accordance to the affidavit.
At about 5:53 a.m., an unique is captured by a safety digital camera going for walks west toward the bay.
A diverse camera reveals an personal in the again garden of the Enders property at 6:42 a.m. climb about the fence into a neighboring yard, according to the affidavit. The individual’s clothes seems to be outsized for the person’s frame and the unique is observed carrying an orange garment or bag when cutting through a assets toward Sixth Avenue. The person was determined to be about 5 ft, 8 inches tall, the exact peak outlined on Heffernan’s driver’s license, in accordance to the affidavit.
At 6:43 a.m., the specific is witnessed going for walks eastbound on Sixth Road by an Xfinity safety digital camera. Ten minutes afterwards, the RV was captured leaving the Island and about 30 minutes later on, an automated license plate reader on Route 72 in the vicinity of the entrance to the Backyard Point out Parkway captured the RV’s registration quantity, according to the affidavit.
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