WOODLAND PARK, NJ - A body was recovered by authorities Friday morning in a section of a stream located in the Morris Canal. Police closed off the area located behind the American Legion Hall on Mount Pleasant Avenue, where they were investigating the scene.
According to Detective Lt. John Uzzalino, police received a call at approximately 8:30 a.m. that a body was found in the Morris Canal and that the deceased was an elderly male, possibly in his 80s.
"It appeared that he fell from the top of a steep hill on the east side of the canal, which caused severe head trauma," Uzzalino said. "Detectives followed a blood trail from midway up the hill, to the water line of the canal where the deceased was found laying in the water face up. The water had a depth of two feet."
Uzzalino added that no signs of foul play were found during the investigation. Police believe the deceased to be a resident of Woodland Park, who is an 85-year-old man that suffers from dementia. They added that he was reported missing by his family yesterday at approximately 7 p.m., about two hours after the family knew he was missing.
"The family waited to contact law enforcement because they tried to find him on their own," he explained. "Woodland Park Police and the Passaic County Sheriff's Department's K-9 unit immediately conducted a search for the missing party but to no avail."
The investigation was conducted by detectives from local police, Passaic County Prosecutor's Office and the Passaic County Sheriff's Department. The West Paterson Fire Department supplied equipment gear for the body's removal from the stream.
The deceased's name is being withheld until positive identification of the victim is made by the family.