Press Release from Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office 3/15/17

Following an extensive investigation by the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office that involved dozens of interviews and thousands of hours of investigation, Malcom D. Tyson age 23, whose most recent residence was Paulsboro has been charged with the murder of 61-year-old Sylvester “Buttons” Combs Jr., whose body was found in a trailer at an abandoned Swedesboro business on 4/6/16.

Complaints charging Tyson with causing the death of Combs were signed on 3/13 /17.  He also was charged  on Wednesday, March 15th with arson and burglary of another trailer at a Swedesboro cemetery on 4/1/16. Physical evidence recovered from that trailer fire became part of the investigation into the death of Combs, who sustained blunt force trauma to the head and whose death was determined to be a homicide.

When charged with the arson and murder, Tyson was incarcerated in default of bail on robbery charges brought against him in West Deptford in August 2016. In addition to homicide, Tyson is charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon. “Our investigation to date establishes that between April 2 and April 6 of last year, Tyson entered a trailer where Mr. Combs was present and repeatedly struck him with his fists, feet and a cylinder about his head and body, causing multiple blunt force injuries, resulting in his death,”  Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutor Dalton credited the work of the GCPO major crimes unit, particularly Det. Greg Malesich, lead investigator for the Combs homicide, and A.J. Garbarino, the MCU’s arson investigator. Assistance in the homicide investigation was provided by the West Deptford and Woolwich Township police departments and the Cumberland County Jail as well as members of the public.

Combs, who had no permanent address, was known to frequent the trailer where he was found.  Police had begun searching for him based on a report that Combs, a familiar and well-liked figure in Swedesboro, had not been seen for several days. Following the discovery of his body, the borough government and business association contributed to a reward offered for the arrest and conviction of a suspect. Speaking for the Combs family at the news conference, the victim’s brother-in-law, Alfred Lee, of Pitman,  thanked the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and said that while the loss “drained the life out of us,”  the support expressed by his hometown of Swedesboro and the family’s faith sustained them.