Two Lumberton Township brothers are in the Burlington County Jail after they were charged Friday with killing their housemate and burying him in the backyard.
Bail was set at $500,000 for Christopher Costello, 27, and Bryan Costello, 24, according to a joint announcement by Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi and Lumberton Township Police Chief Anthony DiLoreto. State Superior Court Judge Paula T. Dow said the brothers were not eligible to post 10 percent and be released.
Authorities said the brothers lived in the two-story home on Spencer Court with their father, Robert, 62, and the victim, Justin DuBois, 23, who was reported missing by a family member Oct. 31. The family member said she had not seen DuBois since Oct. 27.
Investigators discovered the body after they noticed an area in the backyard where the soil appeared to have been recently dug up, authorities said. Joel Bewley, spokesman for the prosecutor, said the "cause of death was undetermined" and noted that an autopsy would be conducted Friday.
The brothers were both charged with first-degree murder.
A neighbor, who did not want his name used, said that he had seen investigators searching the backyard and that it appeared that fire crews were about to drain the pool, according to an account published in the Burlington County Times. Some neighbors said they saw people coming and going at the house, and it appeared marijuana was being sold there for the last three to seven years, the news site said.
Christopher Costello was arrested for possession of drugs in June, the site said.
Court records showed he also was arrested for theft by unlawful taking and sentenced to a noncustodial three-year sentence in 2013. No record was found for his younger brother.
According to Bryan Costello's Facebook page, he once worked for Degeneros Land & Hardscaping in Maple Shade as an apprentice, and it appeared he attended Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly.
"Neither one of the defendants held steady employment, though Bryan did occasionally work doing landscaping," Bewley said. Bewley said he didn't have any information on DuBois.
A records search showed Robert and Diane Costello had purchased the house in 1986 for $110,000 and its value is now $300,000. It is on a court with three other houses and flanked by a small wooded area.
Authorities obtained a search warrant during their investigation of the missing-persons report. Excavation revealed the body of DuBois, which had been buried in that location at some point during the last few days, authorities said.
The motive for the killing and the location where it occurred are still being investigated, authorities said.