HAMILTON (Mercer) — The family of the 18-year-old man whose body was found nearly a month after he was reported missing is hoping that through death, it can help raise money for causes close to his heart.

The funeral for Nick Pratico has been scheduled for Monday at St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church. But instead of flowers the family is asking people wanting to show their support to make contributions to Rex Arts or the Special Olympics.

According to the Rex Arts website, it is a non-profit organization "that provides affordable arts education for students, and valuable employment for working artists.

"The Rex Arts community mourns the loss of Nick Pratico," the group said on its website. "To honor Nick's passion for the performing arts, his family requested supporting performing arts scholarships in Nick's name."

In Pratico's obituary he is described as being "passionate about working with children and adults with special needs," and was a volunteer with the Sunshine Foundation and the Visitation Home. He had gone to basketball games for the Special Olympics.

"He was a lover of all people, and he loved unconditionally," the obituary reads. "Nicky inspired everyone to 'chase their dreams and to never back down,' because with Nicky-there are no can'ts."

Pratico's body was found not far from Mercer County College, where he was last seen alive last month. An overgrown cornfield had blocked attempts to search near where Pratico's body was found where authorities believe he took his own life.

According to the obituary, Pratico's family will receive family and friends on Monday from 9 a.m. until noon before the ceremony. The internment will be private.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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