05/10/2014 03:50 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2014

John Jordan Faces Murder Charge In Estranged Wife's Fatal Stabbing

Police Photo

(Recasts with arrest, details from prosecutor's office)

By David Jones

NEWARK, N.J., May 10 (Reuters) - A New Jersey man was arrested on Saturday and charged with stabbing his estranged wife to death and driving off in her car with their two young sons to a relative's home in South Carolina, police and prosecutors said.

John R. Jordan, 47, of Lodi, N.J., was charged with one count of murder and one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, according to a statement from John Molinelli, the Bergen County prosecutor.

Police found the body of Tracey Jordan, 39, at her apartment in Lodi on Friday evening after they were contacted by her mother, who was concerned about the safety of her daughter.

John Jordan picked up the boys, aged 8 and 7, from elementary school on Saturday, the prosecutor said.

"The victim's mother had intended to pick up the children from school and then had learned the children had been picked up by the father for what was told was a medical appointment," said John Higgins III, an assistant prosecutor.

Tracey Jordan lived with the two boys at the apartment, prosecutors said, while her husband lived at a separate address in Lodi, a borough about 6 miles (10 km) west of New York City. The couple were going through a divorce, according to New Jersey State Police.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police set up surveillance in South Carolina and California, where the husband was known to have relatives, prosecutors said.

Jordan was arrested without incident in Greenville, S.C., shortly after midnight on Saturday after the FBI and Greenville police saw him arriving at a relative's home in his wife's gray Honda Accord. The boys were found in the car, unharmed.

Bail will not be set for Jordan until his first appearance in New Jersey, following extradition, prosecutors said. It was unclear whether he had a lawyer. (Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jonathan Allen)