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Caldwell College To Hold Memorial Services For 2011 Grad

Melissa Pereira was a 'talented, beautiful, faith-filled woman and an eloquent defender of life who enriched our lives,' a college press release stated.

Melissa Pereira, 25. Photo courtesy of New Jersey State Police
Melissa Pereira, 25. Photo courtesy of New Jersey State Police

Caldwell College will hold memorial services to remember a graduate who was found dead in a Wayne garage this week. 

Melissa Pereira, 25, and boyfriend Jorge Rodriguez, 24, of Garfield, were found dead inside a parked car in her garage Sunday morning. 

Pereira, of Wayne, was a "talented, beautiful, faith-filled woman and an eloquent defender of life who enriched our lives," a college press release stated. 

Pereira, who graduated from the college in 2011, was a communications arts graduate and videographer, active in campus ministry and dance club and a leader in the Caldwell College Students for Life club, according to the press release. 

Caldwell College will remember Pereira at 6 a.m. Wednesday in the school's Cougar Den, according to a press release issued by the college. The Mass will be held before the school the bus departs for the March for Life in Washington, D.C., which was an event Pereira attended every year, according to the press release. 

The college will also hold a memorial service at 6 p.m. on Thursday in school's chapel, according to the press release. 

It was not immediately known how long the bodies of Pereira and Rodriguez were in the garage.

The couple was seen at Kmart buying candles the night they disappeared. Pereira, a Caldwell College grad, didn’t take her wallet and left her jacket at home. Rodriguez also did not call out of work.

They booked a reservation in the Pocono Mountains at the Cherry Valley Manor in Stroudsburg, Pa. However, they never checked in at the bed and breakfast.

Over the past few weeks, Pereira's cell phone was in use, but would quickly get turned off.

The state police issued a missing persons alert for the couple on Jan. 13.

A motorist might have picked up a couple matching their description in Hunterdon County on Jan. 7, Garfield police said.

A woman reported to the Garfield Police Department that she picked up two people walking along Route 12 that “resembled the missing persons,” police said.

The woman drove the pair to the Hunterdon County Library in Flemington, which was being used as a warming center, about an hour southwest of Wayne.

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