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Police: Man Playing Scavenger Hunt Finds Dead Body in Mahwah Woods

The Glen Rock man had died a few hours earlier of natural causes, police say.

Ramapo River in Mahwah. Patch File Photo.
Ramapo River in Mahwah. Patch File Photo.

It was as if a crime TV show scene played out in Mahwah last Saturday afternoon when a man following clues to an online scavenger hunt found a dead body in the woods, Mahwah Police Chief Jim Batelli confirmed Friday.

According to police, a man was a contestant in a scavenger hunt in which clues are given out online and, though no ultimate prize is offered, contestants follow them around the region as sport. A clue led the man to a century-old cemetery in wooded state land off of Route 202 in Mahwah, Batelli said.

“The man found a dead body about 15 feet from old cemetery,” Batelli said.

Police identified the body as a Glen Rock man in his late 50s who was in the woods hunting, Batelli said.

“He was a hunter. He had wading boots on and it appeared he had waded through the Ramapo River and was on his way back to his truck, which was parked nearby,” Batelli said.

Police said they believe the man suffered a medical condition while in the woods that caused his death.

“There were no signs of foul play at all,” Batelli said.  

Police said they believe the man died sometime last Saturday morning, only a few hours before the scavenger hunter found him.

fastharry January 03, 2014 at 02:58 PM
and no one reported him missing?
John Santaella January 03, 2014 at 08:28 PM
Why would he be reported missing? He was out hunting.
Leaking Ink January 03, 2014 at 09:30 PM
The online scavenger hunt game is called geocaching. You use a handheld GPS. The prizes are usually just inexpensive items, books, toys, or geocaching coins. The fun is in the journey of finding the cache. Then you go online and say where and when you found it. Kids especially love it (adult kids and younger kids alike).
John Santaella January 03, 2014 at 11:45 PM
I can see a few years from now: "daddy, what's a compass"?
Andy Schmidt January 04, 2014 at 08:29 AM
Well, like YOUR "daddy" did: teach them!? Nothing better to learn map-reading and compass than participating in orienteering events, starting with simple on-trail courses. In this area we are particularly fortunate to have permanent orienteering courses installed, right here in Bergen County - with various levels of difficulty. Specially from November through February is a great time to do that (as long as there's a dry week), because leaves are down and you won't have to fight spiderwebs and ticks while being off-trail. A great way to learn/practice! http://www.glengray.org/orient.html

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