Missing NJ man found dead in Israeli forest - New York News

Missing NJ man found dead in Israeli forest

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Aaron Sofer Aaron Sofer

The body of a missing New Jersey religious student who disappeared during a hike in a forest outside Jerusalem last week has been found.

Aaron Sofer, 23, of Lakewood, N.J., had been missing since Friday, when he went on a hike with a friend in the Jerusalem Forest and the two became separated, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

A spokesman for the family said at a Thursday afternoon news conference that Aaron's family believes that it was an accidental death.

Police had launched an extensive search for Sofer, who was an ultra-Orthodox student at a yeshiva, a Jewish religious school. Hundreds of students, many of whom didn't even know Sofer, had been searching the forest.

ZAKA and Ichud Hatzalah have confirmed that his body, discovered in the Ein Kerem area of Jerusalem, has been identified as the body of Aharon Sofer.

Israeli police sources told Fox News' Jerusalem Bureau that a body has been found in the forest not far from where Sofer disappeared last Friday while hiking with a friend.

Sofer's parents have flown to Israel.

Police had been pursuing all avenues in their investigation, including the possibility that Sofer may have fallen victim to an attack by Palestinian militants. But that theory may be discounted with initial reports that it appears that he died of dehydration.

Sofer's tight-knit ultra-orthodox community of Lakewood had been praying he'd be found alive.

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