STAFFORD – The bodies of the township couple missing for two weeks were found in a dense section of woods by the couple’s Warren Grove home, authorities said.
Foul play is not believed to be a factor in the deaths of Lorraine Parker, 60, and Gary Parker, 67, the Stafford Township Police Department said in a statement on the grim discovery. Autopsies are expected later this week, police said.
A Stafford police drone discovered the couple’s remains at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
A small army of law enforcement officers in about a dozen law enforcement vehicles descended on the secluded residence on Cedar Bridge Road shortly after that.
The scene included detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff’s Department, as well as Stafford police.
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Stafford police announced the morning of Nov. 23 that they were searching for the couple, who were believed to have gone into the Pine Barrens on all-terrain vehicles. Police later confirmed there was one ATV and it was found Tuesday morning near the couple’s home with Gary Parker’s shotgun strapped to it. Lorraine’s cane was found a few days after that, but police would not say where
The couple was last seen on Nov. 17, although a neighbor reported speaking to Lorraine Parker the weekend after that date, police said.
The couple’s daughter, Lindsay Parker, reported them missing and alerted people on Facebook. She has not been able to be reached.
The police organized a massive sweep of the woods that included an extensive grid search by foot, ATVs, K-9s, drones and a helicopter.
The first day of the search was centered on the area around the couple’s home. On Wednesday, the operation focused on the woods between Route 539 and Warren Grove Road in Barnegat and Stafford townships, police said.
After more than 100 volunteers, police officers and firefighters combed the woods of the Warren Grove section of the township Nov. 24, the search for Lorraine and Gary Parker was turned over to the Stafford detectives and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Ken Serrano has covered crime, breaking news, investigations and local issues in New Jersey for more than 20 years. Reach him at 732-643-4029 or [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Missing Stafford NJ couple found dead