On the surface, Olga “Ivy” DeJesus’ relationship with her fiancé, Lamont Stephenson, was the stuff of fairy tales. The couple seemed happy; they were inseparable and planned on growing old together. But then, the unthinkable happened. DeJesus and her dog, Lola, were found dead in her Newark, New Jersey home. Stephenson was nowhere to be found, leaving his fiancée’s distraught family with the difficult task of trying to piece together what happened to the mother of two.
Read our Olga “Ivy” DeJesus wiki to learn more about the victim.
Four years ago, New Jersey native and mother of two, Olga DeJesus, and her beloved family dog, Lola, were killed in her Newark home, allegedly by her fiancé, Lamont Stephenson.
Since that time, DeJesus’ family, who called her “Ivy,” has never stopped searching for her accused killer. While it’s unclear exactly what transpired on that fateful October morning, all of the evidence seems to point to Stephenson as the only logical culprit. The DeJesus family’s relentless efforts to bring Stephenson to justice recently prompted the FBI to add him to their Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, with a $100,000 reward for anyone who presents information leading to his arrest.
Keep reading our Olga “Ivy” DeJesus wiki to find out everything you need to know about the victim, her family, and the tragic circumstances of her death.
Who Was Olga DeJesus?
Olga Yvette DeJesus, also known as Ivy DeJesus, was born on July 18, 1974 in Newark, New Jersey. Her parents moved there from Puerto Rico.
She was the youngest of four siblings. Her brother, Felix DeJesus Jr., is the oldest, followed by her brothers Marco and Tony, respectively. All four siblings grew up together in the Seth Boyden Projects in Newark, New Jersey.
While it wasn’t exactly considered an affluent neighborhood at the time, it was a fairly safe, quiet, and close-knit community where everyone knew one another.
During a special episode of HLN’s The Hunt with John Walsh about the investigation surrounding his sister’s death, Felix commented that, “[Ivy] liked the Newark atmosphere. She knows people in the neighborhood, they know her.”
Ivy was known for having a fun, spunky, and outgoing personality, which is what naturally drew a lot of people to her. In some cases, it was the wrong kind of people.
In 1989, Ivy DeJesus attended Bloomfield Tech where she met her best friend of 25 years, Arlene Martinez. Martinez was one of the people who discovered DeJesus’ body in her bedroom on October 17, 2014.
Maritza Montalvo, who was also a high school friend of DeJesus’ and appears in the same episode of The Hunt, said that she, DeJesus, and Martinez were part of a group of seven girls in high school who did everything together.
She described her late friend as having “a great spirit, always smiling, always making you laugh.”
At 18 years old, Ivy got pregnant with her first child, Steven Mercado. Due to her young age and pursuit of a higher education, Ivy’s mother offered to raise Steven. Ivy’s second child, Kassandra, was born just a few years later. Ivy’s mother told her that since she’d raised the first child, it was up to Ivy to raise the second—and that’s exactly what she did.
“Growing up, she kind of gave me tough love ‘cause being that she has to not only play the mom role, she also has to play the father role. We were kinda inseparable, like, she was literally my best friend,” Kassandra said about her mother.
Ivy DeJesus worked as an export clerk at American Export Lines International Shipping Co.
Olga DeJesus Was “Unlucky in Love”
According to her friends and family, DeJesus didn’t always have the best taste in men…and it seems like her poor judgment ultimately led her demise.
As one of DeJesus’ co-workers and close friends, Angela Varela, commented, Ivy DeJesus was always “unlucky in love” and often approached her for relationship advice with the men she was seeing.
Evidently, DeJesus was typically attracted to “bad boy” types in high school and even as an adult, which is why her friends and family were surprised when she started seeing Lamont Stephenson in October 2013, just one year before her untimely death.
DeJesus and Stephenson went to the same high school at the same time, but they were far from friends. Stephenson was considered a loner and didn’t associate much with the other kids at school.
It wasn’t until about 20 years post graduation that DeJesus and Stephenson would reconnect in an unlikely manner.
Ivy DeJesus & Lamont Stephenson: When Opposites Attract
Stephenson randomly messaging DeJesus in October 2013 and things seemed to take off from there. The two texted back and forth regularly for a while, until he finally asked her out to dinner. She accepted and it seemed as if they clicked instantly.
According to the “Details About Ivy” section of her Facebook profile, which is still activated but set to private, DeJesus described herself as “a hard working Mom” who was “happily engaged to the most amazing man [she’d] ever met.” Unfortunately for her and her loved ones, DeJesus didn’t get the happy ending that she deserved.
Martinez stated that she was shocked when she found out that the two of them were dating all those years after graduating high school, because of how different their personalities were from one another.
By all definitions, Stephenson was described as a quiet, unsociable “nerd” in high school, while Ivy was very popular and outgoing.
When they started dating, however, it was obvious that they really cared about each other and were very much in love.
According to Felix DeJesus, Stephenson “presented himself to be very respectful, very religious.” In a way, Stephenson’s harmless demeanor made it a lot easier for the DeJesus family to welcome him with open arms.
Lamont and Ivy Move in Together
In April 2014, just seven months prior to the alleged murder, Stephenson moved into Ivy DeJesus’ home in Newark.
On July 18, 2014, Ivy celebrated her 40th birthday. After coming home slightly intoxicated from a fun night out with Martinez—who is also Kassandra’s godmother—Stephenson asked her to marry him.
As their relationship progressed and they started the wedding planning process, DeJesus grew increasingly distant from everyone else in her life. Completely engulfed in her first-ever happy relationship and the excitement of getting married, DeJesus threw herself into the wedding planning.
At the same time she was planning her wedding, Ivy’s daughter Kassandra was getting ready to go to college. This was a very emotional period in the DeJesus-Stephenson household.
Trouble Brewing in Paradise?
About a month before her death, Ivy DeJesus began to express to her family and friends that she was feeling somewhat smothered by Stephenson. He was always around, he didn’t seem to have very many friends, and the DeJesus family knew almost nothing about his family.
DeJesus told Martinez that “she needed girly time” away from Stephenson. Based on comments DeJesus made about her fiancé, her friends surmised that he was becoming somewhat obsessive towards her at the end. She also mentioned that he never did anything by himself, he didn’t have any hobbies that she knew of, and he always wanted to be with her.
Ivy’s Mounting Suspicions
Halfway through the month of October 2014, DeJesus began to suspect that something was wrong with her husband-to-be. She texted Martinez and asked her to check up on Stephenson at his job at Pep Boys in Newark, because she had a sneaking suspicion that he’d stopped working for some reason.
Martinez had one of her co-workers call Pep Boys and ask to speak to Stephenson, but they told her that he wasn’t there. When she followed up with DeJesus a few days later about the situation, DeJesus claimed everything was fine and that she and Stephenson had worked it out.
Apparently, Stephenson had told DeJesus that he was in a meeting when Martinez and her co-worker called and that’s why he couldn’t come to the phone.
Shortly thereafter, DeJesus contacted Montalvo asking her to bring over chicken pasteles, a traditional holiday Puerto Rican dish her mother made. When Montalvo went over to the couple’s house on October 15, 2014 to deliver the food, she noticed immediately that something was different. Stephenson seemed to dominate the conversation and would hardly let DeJesus speak, which was very out of character for both of them. Montalvo described the encounter as “awkward.”
Montalvo and Martinez had a conversation about the strange encounter and both agreed that the entire relationship was confusing and that something didn’t seem right about the situation.
Friday, October 17, 2014
DeJesus’ body was discovered on Friday, October 17, 2014.
It would be inaccurate to say that this started like any other day, because for Kassandra DeJesus, it didn’t. Although she’d spoken to her mother the night before and they’d even texted goodnight, Kassandra knew that something was wrong from the moment she woke up.
While recounting the horrific events of that day, Kassandra said, “I woke up the next day (Friday) and I found it weird that she didn’t text me ‘cause she always texts me and says hi every day.” When she didn’t hear from her mother, Kassandra immediately tried to contact Stephenson. But he didn’t answer.
Kassandra called Martinez to see if she’d heard from Ivy DeJesus. Martinez then tried calling her mom herself and when Ivy didn’t answer, she called Pep Boys. The person who answered the phone informed Martinez that Stephenson no longer worked for the company.
Suspecting that something was wrong, Kassandra texted her best friend Ashley after completing a midterm that day and they decided to go check in on her mother. Kassandra called Martinez to let her know they were going to Ivy’s house and Martinez said she’d meet them there.
Upon entering Ivy’s home, the first thing the three women found was Lola’s lifeless body lying in her little doggy bed. Apparently, the chihuahua had died of asphyxiation.
Fearing the worst, Kassandra decided to call her mother’s cousin, Alexander DeJesus, who worked as a correctional officer at the local prison. The police were also contacted.
Alexander arrived at the scene before police and since the three women were too afraid to go upstairs to look for Ivy, he checked it out for them. Immediately after entering Ivy’s bedroom, he saw her feet sticking out from beneath the covers. Her body was already beginning to turn blue.
An Ongoing Investigation
According to the coroner’s report, there was no sign of trauma to the body and no signs of defensive wounds. Also, there was no sign of a break in. The only person who would have had access to her house at that time other than Kassandra was Lamont Stephenson.
The last-known text messages on Ivy’s cell phone were from the night before her body was found. One was from Martinez at approximately 9:00 p.m. and the other was from Kassandra just minutes before midnight.
The coroner’s report showed that Ivy DeJesus’s body showed signs of asphyxiation, but that there were no signs that she’d attempted to fight off her attacker. That means the attack was completely unexpected and probably occurred while she was getting ready for bed or already falling asleep, giving her no time to react.
Police believe that when she was discovered, DeJesus had already been dead for approximately 12 to 18 hours.
Stephenson’s motivation for committing this murder remains a mystery, but there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that he’s the only one who could have possibly done it.
For one, his phone records place him at Ivy’s house the night she was killed.
His immediate disappearance after the fact is only adding fuel to the accusatory fires. Police believe that he most likely fled to either Virginia or the Carolinas because he has family in those states.
Stephenson’s last-known location on the morning after the murder was Newark Penn Station. Police discovered security footage of him boarding a southbound bus from there.
Where Do We Go from Here?
Currently, Lamont Stephenson is still at large and, last month, he was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
DeJesus’ family is still working hard campaigning to raise awareness about her brutal murder and asking anyone with information about Stephenson’s whereabouts to contact them, their local police department, or local FBI offices. There’s a $100,000 reward for anyone who can provide substantiated information that leads to an arrest.
Ivy DeJesus’ brother, Felix DeJesus, has been working tirelessly with the FBI to help bring Lamont Stephenson to justice.