Body of missing NJ lawyer found in New Hampshire’s White Mountains
CUTTS GRANT, N.H. — The body of a New Jersey lawyer who went missing deep in the White Mountains was found Thursday a half-mile away from his tent.
Kevin Auriemma, brother of 63-year-old Brick resident Gregory Auriemma, told New Jersey 101.5 that a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club noticed Auriemma's shirt as he hiked on Thursday afternoon near the Dry River.
He was last seen on June 24 as he headed to New Hampshire on a solo 30 mile, 10-day hiking trip. The area is remote and is suggested that only experienced hikers should use the trails.
New Hampshire Fish & Game said it took its searchers four hours to reach the area where Auriemma was hiking. A spokesman said they will send a team to recover the body on Friday.
His absence was first noted on July 5 when he failed to show up for a Sierra Club barbecue in New Jersey. Kevin Auriemma said a woman hiking on July 14 noticed a camp site along a trail near the Dry River that had not been touched since she first saw it a week earlier.
A severe thunderstorm with heavy wind and gusty winds struck the White Mountains on July 1. New Jersey 101.5 Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said 4.5 inches of rain fell that day, with golf ball-sized hail and reports of dozens of trees snapped or uprooted.
Kevin Auriemma said that Fish and Game officials thought Gregory may have suffered a heart attack or some other medical issue when the storm hit.
"He was off trail but I think a lot of the search was downstream. They kept the image of him getting washed downstream. I think what happened was he went uphill to do some fishing, the storm hits and he tried to get back to camp, gets lost in the woods and can't make his way back."
Gregory Auriemma had liver issues but recently got a clean bill of health from his doctor, according to his brother.
Gregory was the president of the Ocean County chapter of the Sierra Club of New Jersey.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Greg Auriemma," Jeff Tittel, director of New Jersey Sierra Club, said in a statement. "He was a good friend and a champion for the environment. Our hearts and prayers go out to his friends and family and to all of us who love him. Now is the time for remembering all the great things Greg did; his environmental work and activism will live on."
Tittel said Gregory Auriemma "has been a very trusted friend and advisor. He was a leader in the club and well-respected. He’s worked on so many issues but still wanted to do so much more."
Kevin Auriemma said his brother wanted to be cremated with his ashes spread over someplace he loved like the White Mountains or the Metedeconk River. Plans for a memorial service are yet to be determined.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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