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Who killed John Enders and his companion in Surf City? His daughter says it wasn’t her.

Sherry Lee Heffernan made a “midnight dash” to LBI, where police say she killed her father, Jack Enders, and his companion, Frenchie Pitoy, inside the house that was under an agreement of sale.

Francoise "Frenchie" Pitoy, 75, and John "Jack" Enders, 87, were found shot and stabbed inside his Surf CIty home on Oct. 3. Enders' daughter Sherry Lee Heffernan, 55, was charged with murder and weapons offenses in the case.
Francoise "Frenchie" Pitoy, 75, and John "Jack" Enders, 87, were found shot and stabbed inside his Surf CIty home on Oct. 3. Enders' daughter Sherry Lee Heffernan, 55, was charged with murder and weapons offenses in the case.Read moreFacebook; Joseph Fleuhr Funeral

SURF CITY, N.J. — The white RV later traced to Sherry Lee Heffernan was captured by surveillance cameras at 4:48 a.m. Sept. 29, heading over the Route 72 bridge onto Long Beach Island.

Ten minutes later, a Ring doorbell camera captures the Winnebago approaching the home belonging to Heffernan’s father, John “Jack” Enders, 87, on North Seventh Street in Surf City, on the literal edge of Barnegat Bay.

An hour later, the vehicle is recorded headed east on Seventh Street. At 5:53, an individual in oversize clothing is recorded walking back into view on Seventh Street, then, at 6:42, in the backyard of the property, climbing over a fence. A minute later, an Xfinity camera spots someone walking east on Sixth Street.

At 6:58, two hours after arriving on LBI, the white RV is again observed on the bridge, heading off the island.

In those two hours, the culmination of what Heffernan’s son told police was a “midnight dash” by his mother from their home in Landenberg, Chester County, police allege that a gruesome double murder was committed, in which the two elderly victims were both shot and stabbed, leaving the $1.9 million Shore home splattered with their blood, inside and out, upstairs and down.

The victims were identified as Enders, a home builder originally from Doylestown, a larger-than-life character who at 87 still roared off in his pickup truck, let local kids crab off his dock, and cooked meals for neighbors who sat out back for hours, and his longtime companion, Francoise “Frenchie” Pitoy, 75, a nursing home Alzheimer’s specialist who endeared members of the Surf City volunteer fire department by serving in its Women’s Auxiliary and paying visits to their ailing relatives.

“Our hearts are broken as we remember the light, love and laughter that Frenchie brought to us,” the department wrote on its Facebook page.

Marcus Evans, Pitoy’s son-in-law, who lives in Virginia Beach, said in an interview, “They were the most beautiful people you’d ever meet in your life.”

He said he and his wife, Valerie Lewis-Evans, who first called police when she hadn’t heard from her mother, had been unaware of any hostility or tension between Enders and his daughter.

The Surf City firefighters put Pitoy’s name into the memory plaque on the side of their building, usually reserved for their members. Frenchie Pitoy. Lest we forget.

The ultimate landing place

It took five more days for their bodies to be discovered, Enders in his big brown first-floor recliner, Pitoy still on the steps leading down to the living area. Both had “massive stab wounds,” according to an affidavit filed by Surf City Police Sgt. Victor Rice, and released by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

North Seventh Street had been the ultimate landing place for the widower, Enders, and the divorced Pitoy, his companion for most of the last two decades.

Neighbor John Gofus told police that Enders had recently rewritten his will to exclude his two daughters, and that the younger, Sherry Lee, was upset over the sale of the Shore house, which he had had transferred to him from an estate that included his late wife. The house was under an agreement of sale as of Sept. 2 for $1.9 million. He also sold his boat.

In an interview with The Inquirer, Gofus said Enders had had little to do with either of his children of late, even as he and Pitoy nurtured robust friendships in Surf City. He said Enders had taken care of his late wife, who had Alzheimer’s, for years before she died.

“He got no help from anyone,” Gofus said.

Enders was introduced to Pitoy on the beach by a mutual friend. Pitoy was French Canadian and still had her own home in nearby Manchester.

“They seemed to hit it off right after that,” said Gofus, who also knew Pitoy through the Fire Department.

“They both had birthdays in August. August was the month they had met. Nineteen years, 40 days, they’d been together,” Gofus said.

Evans, Pitoy’s son-in-law, said the two were seemingly inseparable.

“They didn’t have an ounce of hatred or hostility in their hearts,” Evans said. “Everywhere you see Jack, you see Moms. Everywhere you see Moms, you see Jack.”

Gofus said Enders had been estranged from his older daughter, though recently had attended the wedding of her son, and said it was cordial. He said Sherry Lee’s previous house, in Collegeville, had been significantly damaged in floods. He said rising real estate prices on LBI prompted Enders to sell, with only vague plans to spend time in the Florida Keys.

“[Heffernan] had a real estate license in New Jersey and Maryland,” Gofus said. “When he decided he was going to sell it, she wanted the house outright. He said, ‘No , I’m selling it.’ She said, ‘Well, I will sell it for you.’ He said, ‘I’m giving it to an active Realtor.’ It was supposed to go to closing next week.”

Neighbors expect the new owners will accelerate their plans to knock down the house and build a new one.

‘I’m being framed’

Although Long Beach Island is no hotbed for crime, other than the rash of Range Rover thefts this summer, the off-season quiet of the affluent island has at times proven a tempting backdrop for brutal murders.

In April 2012, James Hunsinger, 73, died when prosecutors said he was intentionally struck by a vehicle driven by his neighbor, Terrance O’Brien, on West Seventh Street in Ship Bottom, a block from where Route 72 funnels into Long Beach Island.

In March 2004, after what he later described as a night of drinking, Gregory Gillick stabbed his 75-year-old stepmother, Doris Gillick, to death inside her Surf City home, in what was then Surf City’s first murder.

And in December 2015, Conrad Sipa, 52, of Colts Neck, was charged with murder in the slashing and beating death of Richard Doody, 60, a New York City Fire Department lieutenant, inside Doody’s home in Barnegat Light. Sipa was convicted, sentenced to 45 years, and, in a civil case, ordered to pay Doody’s widow $5 million.

Heffernan was arrested Oct. 4 outside her home, the same day the bodies were discovered by police. An autopsy performed that day concluded that Enders had suffered multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma, his right carotid artery severed.

An autopsy the next day on Pitoy found she had been shot in the face, in addition to being stabbed.

A later examination of Enders found that he, too, had been shot in the face with a handgun, the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on Oct. 19. They lodged additional weapons charges against Heffernan, and she was transported to the Ocean County Jail from Chester County.

Heffernan first appeared in court in Chester County, and waived extradition in a brief hearing attended by a reporter with the Daily Local News.

“I would have surrendered myself in New Jersey if I had known I was wanted for something,” she told the judge, according to the newspaper report.

Asked for comment as she was led out of the courtroom, “in handcuffs and shackles, wearing a floral print beach dress,” according to the Daily Local News, she answered, “Not guilty. I’m being framed.”

Her son, Joseph, told police that both he and his mother considered Pitoy to be a “gold digger,” and the reason Enders was selling the Surf City house, the affidavit said.

He described his mother’s trip to Long Beach Island as a “midnight dash,” and said she frequently would stay up into the early hours “because she made up her mind that she needed to get something done.”

He said, “I can’t believe she did this.”

On Oct. 19, neighbors on Seventh Street traveled from LBI to New Britain, Bucks County, for a memorial service for Enders. They are planning a memorial for Pitoy in Surf City.

In his obituary, posted to the Joseph A. Fluehr III Funeral Home website, Enders was described as a lover of the Shore, boating and fishing. He was a 1950 graduate of Frankford High School and served with the Air Force during the Korean War. He got a degree in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

He was a Mason and a member of the LuLu Temple Shrine, the obituary said, survived by a daughter, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Heffernan was not listed in the obituary.