On Saturday, May 28, 2011, in the middle of Memorial Day Weekend, Chafic “Steve” Ezzeddine was found murdered inside of his place of business, the Kenvil Diner, located on Route 46 in the Kenvil section of Roxbury Township, New Jersey.
In the past four years since the murder of Steve Ezzeddine, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Roxbury Township Police Department have continued to actively investigate this crime and search for the identity of the person(s) involved.
In additional to the crime itself, it is also important to recall the story that exists behind the innocent life that was taken that day in 2011.
Steve was a simple, hard-working family man, and a family patriarch, who left a rich and fulfilling life in Lebanon over 40 years ago, to come to the United States to be with the woman he loved – his wife, Amal. One of six children, Steve completed university in Lebanon and was enjoying the beginnings of a promising career with Middle East Airlines when he met Amal in 1970. Due to religious differences, Amal and Steve’s relationship was forbidden by society and frowned upon by their family and friends. As they secretly continued their relationship, Steve made a courageous decision to move to the United States in hopes of someday being able to marry the woman he loved. Before leaving, he told Amal that someday he would send for her to come join him in the United States.
Steve departed Lebanon in 1971, leaving behind his family, friends, and successful job to start a life in America. He located to New Jersey, where he worked at a diner and enrolled in a Master’s program to continue to build on his education. After more than a year of long days, hard work, and weekly letters to Amal, Steve finally sent for her to join him in the United States. Although the decision was not supported by family, Amal left Lebanon in 1972.
In the beginning, the two struggled, living in a motel room as Steve continued long days of work and school. Amal, not having many friends or family in New Jersey, and not knowing the English language, spent much of her time isolated in the motel room. Despite this hardship, the two married in October 1972. There began a union marked by the struggle to not only earn a living, but to also assimilate into a new society, start a family, make new friends, and ultimately become productive members of the community they came to call home. They dealt with the scrutiny of the family they left behind in Lebanon, knowing that their decision to leave their country to be together was brave, but not accepted. At the time, they knew in their hearts and minds that this was the only way they could be together.
Steve and Amal started a family, eventually having three (3) sons. In 1983, after many years of hard work, the couple purchased the business that became the Kenvil Diner. For years, Steve worked tirelessly at the diner to provide for his family, consistently working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, up until the day of his murder. Amal was there throughout it all, working countless hours in the diner alongside the love of her life. Together they raised three (3) hard working, successful young men, who struggle daily with the loss of their father. It is through his memory and inspiration that they strive to live as honorable a life as he did.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Roxbury Township Police Department continue to pursue leads in this investigation and have worked with numerous other law enforcement agencies during the course of this investigation, to include the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office, New Jersey State Police, New York City Police Department, New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service.
The Ezzeddine family has raised the reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible for the murder of their patriarch. Coupled with the Morris County CrimeStoppers reward money, the total reward is now $25,000. The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is not involved in any aspect of the reward being offered.
A website has been developed by the Ezzeddine family (www.kenvildiner.com) as a tribute to their loved one.
Law enforcement asks that anyone with information in regards to this investigation please contact the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 973-285-6200 or www.morrisprosecutor.org, the Roxbury Police Department at 973-448-2090, or Crimestoppers at 973-COP-CALL, www.morriscrimestoppers.org.
Persons reporting information may remain anonymous.
Any inquiries regarding this press release can be directed to Deputy Chief Denise H. Arseneault at 973-285-6262 or [email protected].