2 special-needs men who went missing froze to death in NJ woods
EASTAMPTON — Two special-needs men who disappeared on Nov. 1 froze to death after apparently getting lost in the woods near their group home.
The body of 58-year-old Juan Garcia was finally found by searchers Thursday morning in the 312-acre Smithville Park.
The body of his friend, 58-year-old Joseph Brockington, had been discovered by someone hiking in the same park in February.
Burlington County Medical Examiner Ian Hood said both men died from hypothermia.
"Sadly, our worst fears after locating Mr. Brockington have now been realized," Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said Friday. "Our deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Garcia's family and friends."
The men lived at a Catholic Charities group home on a 2-acre West Railroad Avenue property surrounded by the park.
The area is heavily wooded and the avenue is a narrow road with no sidewalks or fog lines.
The two men had permission to leave the home, which provided mental health services for adults. The two often went to the nearby Wawa, which about a 40-minute walk to the intersection of Routes 38 and 206 in Southampton.
Coffina said hundreds of law enforcement officials and volunteers from 14 state and local agencies were involved in the search since Nov. 1.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.