Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Eastampton Township Police Chief Joseph Iacovitti announced that the body of the second man who went missing from an Eastampton Township group home late last year has been found in Smithville Park.
The body of Juan Garcia, 58, was discovered yesterday morning during an active search of the park. Mr. Garcia was identified earlier today by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood, who concluded that his death was accidental and due to hypothermia.
Mr. Garcia disappeared from a group home for mentally handicapped persons on West Railroad Avenue on November 1, 2018 along with Joseph Brockington, 56, whose body was found in the park in February. Mr. Brockington’s cause and manner of death were ruled the same as Mr. Garcia’s.
The men had permission to leave the group home unsupervised, and were known to have enjoyed walking to the Wawa store located at the intersection of Route 38 and Route 206 in Southampton.
“Sadly, our worst fears after locating Mr. Brockington have now been realized,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “Our deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Garcia’s family and friends.”
The discovery of the bodies followed an extensive effort by hundreds of law enforcement officials and volunteers who searched the area on multiple occasions, initially with the hopes of locating the men and returning them safely to their residence.
The search effort, which began on the day the gentlemen disappeared, included personnel from the following agencies and organizations: Burlington County Central Communications, Burlington County Fire Marshal’s Office, Burlington County Medical Examiner’s Office, Burlington County Office of Emergency Management, Burlington County Parks Department, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Eastampton Fire-Rescue, Eastampton Township Police Department, Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, Mount Laurel Police Department, New Jersey Search and Rescue, New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Transit Police, Westampton Township Fire Department, and Westampton Township Police Department.