RARITAN TWP., NJ – The family of a 17-year-old boy who went missing from here March 29 has been coping with more grief recently, the boy’s father said.

Police have had no confirmed sightings of Chase Merone, a Hunterdon Central High School student, since he was last recorded on a surveillance camera at Wawa on Route 31.

His father, Jonathan Merone, said this afternoon that Ronald Merone died May 7. Ronald is Jonathan’s father and Chase’s grandfather.

Sign Up for E-News

Chase and the elder Merone were very close, Jonathan said.

Ronald Merone was a long time Mount Olive resident who moved to Greentown, Pa. a few years ago. His obituary reports that he was a pharmacist and had owned Lakeview Drug & Surgical in Budd Lake for many years.

Chase’s father and police here have repeatedly said that Chase is not in any trouble with his family.

His father is heartbroken now because he believes Chase would have wanted to attend his grandfather’s funeral, which was yesterday. He believes that so strongly that he took photos of some of the memorial services so that he could share them with Chase, Merone said.

“All he has to do is call,” Merone said. “I just want to hear his voice.”

Merone added that Chase could call anyone in the family to let them know that he’s ok, but Merone would especially like to be able to share a hug with his son.

Chase will turn 18 next Thursday. His dad and police both suspect that he may be waiting for that milestone before contacting his family. Chase left a note behind before his disappearance, so foul play isn’t suspected.