Most Wanted murder suspect killed 24 years ago by truck

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Authorities believe the man, Wilmane Nicolas, of Elizabeth, fatally stabbed his girlfriend in 1993.

ELIZABETH -- A previously unidentified man who was killed by a truck 24 years ago has been identified as the person suspected of killing his girlfriend the same week, authorities said Wednesday. 

An archived fingerprint match identified the man fatally struck by a tractor-trailer in Elizabeth on Oct. 28, 1993, as then 31-year-old Wilmane Nicolas, who was wanted in the fatal stabbing of Magalie Francois, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park said.

Nicolas, of Elizabeth, was killed around 8:45 a.m. near Routes 1&9 and East Grand Street, officials said. He had no identification on him when he was killed, and investigators were unable to figure out who he was.

The driver who struck Nicolas told police a pedestrian ran in front of his tractor-trailer, The Star-Ledger previously reported. No charges were filed in the crash. 

Two days later, authorities found the body of Francois, 31, on the 600 block of Monroe Avenue. They said an autopsy showed she had been stabbed to death and suffered blunt trauma to her head.

Family members found Francois' body in the basement of Nicolas' apartment two days after she failed to show up to her job at a chiropractor's office in Union Township, The Star-Ledger previously reported. Francois lived with her family in Linden, and she and Nicolas were engaged to be married, according to The Star-Ledger. 

Elizabeth police soon identified Nicolas, who worked as a laborer at a paper products company, as a suspect. They issued a warrant for his arrest in January of 1994, and he was put on the Union County Sheriff's Office Most Wanted List. 

Meanwhile, the fingerprints of the accident victim were given to State Police in 1993 and the FBI in 2006, officials said. Neither submission matched any known person.

The fingerprints were recently identified as Nicolas through comparison to the National Institute of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Person System database, authorities said. 

Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook. 

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