Two New Jersey men were charged Friday in the sexual assault and murder of 15-year-old Nicole Angstadt, whose body was recovered in the crawl space of a vacant home last December in the Cape May area. Derrick Powers, 23, and Charles Mosley, 33, face charges of first degree murder, murder during the course of a sexual assault, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to desecrate a body and hindering apprehension.
Mosley also faces charges of aggravated assault and desecrating a body, as well as his previous charge of having a sexual relationship with the minor. Powers and Mosley, both from Rio Grande, are being held on $1 million bail, according to the CBS News Crimesider blog.
Middle Township Police Chief Chris Leusner expressed to Press Of Atlantic City the profound effect that Angstadt’s murder has had on a community where homicide is rare.
“It’s horrible. It’s a 15-year-old girl. It breaks your heart. It makes you angry. I know it hurt the whole community. My officers were out there. It’s something that bothers them. It will probably bother them the rest of their careers, the rest of their lives.”
Angstadt’s sister, Heather Bradley, praised Nicole for her ability to always make people laugh, despite claims by some that she led a “troubled life.” Press of Atlantic City reported that local police records showed a variety of complaints related to her residence, including noise, truancy and parental domestic disputes, with 135 visits by local law enforcement since 2012, which led police to initially presume Angstadt was a runaway.
Despite what appeared to be a tumultuous home life, Bradley said Angstadt was the one who pulled the family together through their tough times, and Bradley bristles at any suggestions her home life drove Nicole to the streets.
“Her mother loved her extremely like she loves the rest of us. As far as I’m concerned, my mom is my best friend,” Bradley told Press of Atlantic City. “Every family has issues, has things within their family. For people to just bash my mom, I think it’s absurd… The reality is there is nothing that we could have done to prevent this.”
Bradley said her family will never experience another joyous Christmas with the loss of their daughter and sister, and the depth of the family’s loss is expressed on their GoFundMe page to help cover Nicole’s funeral expenses.
“Imagine having a daughter who’s 15 go missing, after 2 long weeks of waiting, finding out that she’ll never be coming home. Imagine having a twin sister and every time you look in the mirror you see her in yourself. Nicole Angstadt will not have a chance to see her 16th birthday, she will never be walked down an aisle, and never know what it’s like to have a child of her own. She was taken too soon and now her family is suffering this tragic loss.”
The community’s shock at Angstadt’s brutal murder led to Middle Township police reinstating its street-crimes division, noting that both Powers and Mosley weren’t originally from the area, with Mosley having an extensive previous criminal record. Mosley was released from prison in August 2015, after serving four years for burglary, aggravated assault and eluding police, with previous robbery and assault charges before that incarceration dating back to 2001. Upon his release, he had used a hotel voucher to stay in Rio Grande.
Since reinstating the street-crimes division, Middle Township police have targeted illegal activities at the voucher hotels, making 17 arrests while seizing 1,180 bags of heroin and 86 bags of crack cocaine, Leusner said. Unfortunately, that all came too late for Nicole Angstadt and the family left behind to mourn her, but Leusner wants to use the tragedy to create something positive.
“It’s sad. But the way I decide to handle that sadness, that anger is to make it productive. That’s what we’re trying to do with our efforts here.”
If convicted of the charges pending against them, Mosley and Powers face sentences of 30 years to life in prison.
[Photos of Mosley (left) and Powers (right) via the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office]