Food truck fundraising event held for woman found dead in Bayonne

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s office says that the body of 32-year-old Norelis Mendoza was found along Route 440 in Bayonne. She was reported missing on Sunday.

Matt Trapani and Joti Rekhi

May 19, 2023, 2:26 AM

Updated 403 days ago

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The owner of a Jersey City food truck is raising money for the children of a woman found dead Wednesday in Bayonne, on the Jersey City border.
The Hudson County Prosecutor’s office says that the body of 32-year-old Norelis Mendoza was found along Route 440 in Bayonne. She was reported missing on Sunday.
Friends and family tell News 12 New Jersey that Mendoza had a smile that would light up any room. She worked in health care and would put other people ahead of herself.
Ashley Alicea says that she will now do everything in her power to honor her best friend.
“This is now how her story was supposed to be. She deserved so much more,” Alicea says, of Mendoza.
She says that she now finds comfort in her community.
“This is a nightmare. It doesn’t feel real. But I’m just grateful that the community came together…It just feels so crazy,” Alicea says.
Alicea is among the many who showed up at a pop-up food truck event in Jersey City that honored Mendoza. The owner of 201 Cuisine felt compelled to start the event after he heard the news.
“She was a beautiful person. Her soul was pure and she just had an amazing smile…Her smile would just light up a room,” says Raphael Santiago.
He just opened his business this week. He says that he grew up with Mendoza. He says that he planned to donate whatever people paid to help Mendoza’s two young daughters.
“These kids need all the help in the world right now. My dad always told me it takes a million dollars to raise a kid. She has two kids. There’s never too much so if we can raise $2 million, let’s do it,” Santiago says.
Mendoza was last seen leaving her mother’s Jersey City home on Saturday. The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating her death.
Friends and family members say that a suspect is in custody. But this has not yet been confirmed by law enforcement. The friends and family have alluded to a tumultuous history with the father of Mendoza’s children.
For now, they say that they will focus on the future of Mendoza’s children.
“She had the biggest heart. She was the greatest protector. She always made sure that everybody felt safe,” says Alicea.
A GoFundMe created for the children has raised more than $20,000.


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