Exclusive: Family of Barnegat woman killed in Manchester recounts death of their loved one

Gabriella Caroleo was fatally shot in Manchester on June 27.

Jim Murdoch

Jul 8, 2024, 9:26 PM

Updated 6 days ago

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The family members of a 25-year-old woman from Barnegat who was killed in Manchester are recalling incidents leading up to her death as well as the aftermath.
Gabriella Caroleo was fatally shot in Manchester on June 27.
The man wanted in connection to her death, 35-year-old Maxwell Johnston, killed himself during a tense standoff one week later.
“The grief is something different because it wasn’t an accident. Gabby was stolen from, she was taken from us, it’s been horrible,” said a grieving Anna Maria Caroleo, Gabriella’s younger sister.
“If there’s anything you can do to protect your loved ones, go full force. We tried with Gabby, but I definitely feel guilt like we could have done more,” said Anna Maria Caroleo.
They say this included protection from Johnston, who was on the run for a week after police say he killed Caroleo and then taunted the family even while they were at her funeral.
“He actually sent a text message stating that we had Manchester police there the whole time as security. He passed by or had someone pass by to figure out if we had protection there for us,” her sister added.
“My daughter was innocent, and she didn’t deserve this. And that animal walked for a week before his picture was even posted,” said Gabriella’s mother, Gina.
Her mother says she initially received a call from Gabby saying her life was in danger.
Six hours later, she got a call from police telling her to come to the station. She was then notified her daughter had been shot, flown to the hospital and died.
“I am going to hire a private investigator from New York City where we are from and other detectives as well, and I’ll get to the bottom of this if I have to myself,” said Gina.
Since the July 5 standoff, 29-year-old Elizabeth Mascarelli, has been charged with harboring a fugitive after police say she let Johnston stay with her for four days, despite knowing about the murder. She was with Johnston when he turned the gun on himself.
Anna Maria Caroleo hopes her sister’s murder will be a wake-up call to other families dealing with domestic violence.
“I want everyone to understand this could be happening behind closed doors and you don’t know about it but just always keep your eye out, and always try to protect your loved ones the best and as soon as you see something say something,” said Anna Maria.
Gabriella leaves behind a 3-year-old son.


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