HIGHLANDS — The body of a woman who disappeared from a group while swimming in Sandy Hook Bay was recovered on Sunday morning, authorities said.

Melissa Fries, 37, of North Bergen was on a private beach on Valley Street in Highlands with roughly a dozen friends, according to Highlands police Captain George Roxby, when they noticed she was not with the group.

The group notified police, who immediately began a search with assistance from the Atlantic Highlands Marine Unit, Sea Bright police, the U.S. Coast Guard, State Police, the Monmouth County Sheriff's Dept. Dive Team and the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

Fries' body was recovered on the same beach at 5:50 a.m. on Sunday morning, according to Roxby, who said her death is considered an "unfortunate accident."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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