WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Woodland Park Police Chief Anthony Galietti announced earlier that the identify of a deceased man found in Woodland Park on Jan. 13 was Thomas Kozell, 85, of Woodland Park.
Kozell, 85, had been reported missing by his family in the evening on Jan. 12, according to police. Alerts were posted and shared widely by family and friends on Facebook and a Silver Alert had been issued by the state. They stated that Kozell had last been seen around 5 p.m. in the area of Vetrone Drive and that he was without a jacket, only wearing a flannel shirt. In addition, it was noted that Kozell had dementia and could be confused if approached. Prior to calling police, family members and friends began searching the areas in which Mr. Kozell frequented, knowing how Mr. Kozell had loved to take walks. Shortly after, the police were called in order to expand the search. The search continued throughout the night.
The next morning, Kozell’s body was located in the water near a walking path between Browertown Road and Mt. Pleasant Avenue by a member of the search party, who was out looking along with other family members and friends, local and county police. Police said it appeared that he fell from the top of a hill on the east side of the canal, which caused severe head trauma. Police said the death did not appear suspicious and that the investigation was ongoing.
According to his son Robert, Mr. Kozell was born in Schenectady, N.Y., and lived most of his life in Woodland Park. He was an equipment operator for Public Service Electric & Gas Company for over 25 years and was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War.
Mr. Kozell was a loving husband to his wife and a was a devoted father and grandfather.
Arrangements are being handled by Marrocco Memorial Chapel in Clifton.