Gabrielle Mueller, 31, was last seen alive during the evening hours of Sunday, April 1, 2001. The Toms River resident was reported missing the following day. That morning, she was found strangled in a wooded area of Salem Street in Lakewood, close to the Lakewood Industrial Park. Her blue Toyota Corolla was located in Lakewood the day after her body was discovered. An autopsy revealed that the she died as a result of strangulation and her death was ruled a homicide.

Mueller, who was a secretary with the state Department of Environmental Protection's Toms River office, also worked part-time for an ambulance service that covered the Lakewood Industrial Park. She lived at the Toms River Apartments on Main Street in Toms River.

Mueller disappeared several hours after having dinner with her ex-husband and one of their two children on Sunday, April 1, 2001. The couple dined at the Primetime Cafe on Route 571 in Toms River.

The couple regularly ate together as they exchanged custody of their children, who were 8 and 9 years old at the time.

After leaving the restaurant, Mueller and one of her children went home to her apartment. She left her apartment about 8 p.m., telling her child that she was going to a nearby store, but she never returned. Her former husband filed a missing persons report with the then-Dover Township Police Department (now Toms River), on Monday, April 2, 2001.

Her body was found by workers in the Industrial Park who were taking a lunchtime walk on Salem Street on Tuesday, April 3, 2001. Her fully-clothed body was found about 20 feet from Salem Street, in a patch of woods located about 400 yards east of New Hampshire Avenue.