Police: Dead man identified as 1993 murder suspect

Posted: Updated:

A previously unidentified man who was struck and killed by a vehicle in Elizabeth has been identified as a man suspected of killing his girlfriend in 1993, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.

Officials say that the connection was made when a New Jersey State Police forensic anthropologist recently entered the fingerprints of a series of unidentified bodies into a national database.

The unidentified man has been identified as 31-year-old Wilmane Nicolas, of Elizabeth. Police say Nicolas was struck and killed by a car Oct. 28, 1993 while walking near Route 1&9 and East Grand Street in Elizabeth. He did not have any identification on his person at the time, and investigators failed to find any family members.

Two days after Nicolas was killed, the body of 31-year-old Magalie Francois was found on the 600 block of Monroe Avenue in Elizabeth. Police says that Francois was fatally stabbed a number of times and also beaten in the head. 

Investigators identified Nicolas, who was dating Francois at the time, as the suspect in her murder. A warrant for his arrest was issued in January 1994, and he was placed on the Union County Most Wanted List, according to officials.

The Union County prosecutor says that Nicolas’ fingerprints were submitted into a database in 1993 and again in 2006 (when he remained unidentified as an accident victim) but did not provide any results.

But it wasn’t until New Jersey State Police Forensic Anthropologist Donna Fontana entered a series of fingerprints into the National Institute of Justice’s National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs) database, that it returned a match to Nicolas.

Union County Prosecutor Grace Park says that she would like to thank Fontana and all the investigators for helping to close a nearly 24-year-old murder case.

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