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Affidavit describes messages in murder case

A South Jersey man accused of killing his wife exchanged repeated text messages with his mother early New Year's Eve, when authorities believe his wife disappeared, an affidavit shows.

Kyle Crosby and mother Jo Crosby
Kyle Crosby and mother Jo CrosbyRead more

A South Jersey man accused of killing his wife exchanged repeated text messages with his mother early New Year's Eve, when authorities believe his wife disappeared, an affidavit shows.

In one potentially damaging text, Kyle Crosby received a message from his mother, Jo, that read, "Please do not touch her in any way or form," the affidavit says.

Thirteen minutes later, Kyle Crosby sent a message that "indicated that he was not that stupid," the affidavit says.

The affidavit of probable cause was included in the arrest warrant for Jo Crosby, 67, of Sicklerville, who was charged Monday with helping her son conceal the crime.

Kyle Crosby, 28, of Mount Laurel, was charged Jan. 13 with murdering Erica Crippen, 26. Crippen's body has not been recovered, but authorities say she was killed on or about Dec. 31.

According to the affidavit, obtained by The Inquirer under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, at least 15 text messages between Kyle Crosby and his mother on New Year's Eve were retrieved during a forensic examination of their cellphones. Kyle Crosby also had an 18-minute phone conversation with his mother, the affidavit says.

A text message at 3:13 a.m. Dec. 31 suggested that Kyle Crosby was talking with his mother about an argument with an unknown female who was with him, the affidavit says. He repeatedly referred to the woman only as "she."

Seconds later, "he also indicated that 'she' took all the money and is going to do whatever she wants with it," the affidavit says. Kyle Crosby also complained that the woman had sat on his Play Station 4, the affidavit says.

Shortly before 6 a.m., the affidavit says, Kyle Crosby sent a message that read, "Hey mom I just want you to know that I am ok." Nearly 30 minutes later, he sent a message that read, "I need you to come here," the affidavit says.

During a Jan. 9 interview with Mount Laurel police, Jo Crosby said she had no recollection of receiving a phone call from her son on Dec. 31, the affidavit says. She even showed her cellphone to police.

"It is evident that Jo Crosby was communicating with her son by text messages at or about the time of Erica Crippen's disappearance, and that she deleted those text messages from her cellphone in order to conceal material, incriminating information from law enforcement," the affidavit says.

Jo Crosby admitted deleting the messages when she learned authorities were en route to interview her, the affidavit says. She later said she recalled receiving a 3:31 a.m. call from her son Dec. 31, but not the actual conversation.

She was charged Monday with one count of hindering apprehension and one count of tampering with evidence by destroying records. She released after posting $12,500 bail.

A spokesman for Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi declined comment on the affidavit. The arrest affidavit for Kyle Crosby remains sealed.

Authorities began investigating Crippen's disappearance after her 7-year-old daughter from a previous relationship was not picked up from school. The couple also have a 3-month-old daughter.

Kyle Crosby gave police conflicting accounts of when he had last seen his wife, the affidavit said. He also said the couple had argued over his drug abuse and other behavior, the affidavit says.

According to a complaint filed against Kyle Crosby, authorities found the infant wearing a soiled diaper and unattended in a bath tub filled with about six inches of water. Kyle Crosby was under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, the warrant said. He was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Crippen, a nursing assistant who worked as a home health aide, met her husband online two years ago, relatives said. They were married last year.

Relatives said they became alarmed when they visited the couple's home when they were unable to reach Crippen and found a pile of broken glass swept into a corner. The sheets been stripped from the bed, and the shower curtain was missing, the said.

Jo Crosby said "everything looked fine" when she arrived at the residence in the 5000 block of Aberdeen Drive around 7 a.m. on Dec. 31, the affidavit says. She stayed with the children while Kyle Crosby ran errands with a friend, the affidavit says.

According to the affidavit, authorities suggested in Jan. 14 interview that Kyle Crosby used his mother's 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee to run errands. She replied that no one, including her son, uses her Jeep and the interview ended.

"I submit there is probable cause to believe that Jo Crosby knew that Kyle Crosby had killed Erica Crippen, and that, acting on that knowledge, she deliberately destroyed material evidence by deleting text messages from her mobile phone in order to interfere with the ongoing homicide investigation," Detective Wayne Raynor wrote.

Anyone with information concerning Crippen's whereabouts is asked to contact Burlington County Communications at 609-265-7113.