A prosecutor says "our worst fears ... have now been realized" with the discovery in a New Jersey park of the body of the second of two men who disappeared from a group home for people with mental disabilities.
Juan Garcia, 58, whose body was found Thursday during a search of Smithville Park, disappeared from the group home Nov. 1 along with 56-year-old Joseph Brockington, whose body was found in the 312-acre park in February. Both died of hypothermia and their deaths were ruled accidental, officials said.
Searches involving hundreds of law enforcement officers, emergency services and volunteers had been conducted multiple times for the victims, beginning the day they disappeared, the Burlington County prosecutor's office said.
"Sadly, our worst fears" after finding the first victim "have now been realized," prosecutor Scott Coffina said.
The men were residents of a state-funded Catholic Charities group home in Eastampton Township and were known to have enjoyed walking to a Wawa store, the prosecutor said.
Dana DiFilippo, a representative of Catholic Charities in Trenton, said in February that the home helps "adults with serious mental illness to live independently in the community."
Residents are free to leave at any time, but because both men required daily medication, Catholic Charities immediately alerted authorities when they did not return that night, she said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this difficult time," an agency representative said in an emailed statement.