The dead body of a veteran recently back from Afghanistan was found this past Monday morning, Oct. 15, on the Hackensack River shoreline in Kearny, authorities said.
Based on ID found on the body, the dead man was identified as Travis Sean Mettelholzer, 31, of Jersey City, according to Acting Hudson County Prosecutor Guy Gregory.
Gregory said Mettelholzer had been reported missing and suicidal by his wife a week prior and he’d been last seen alive in Jersey City on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 8, Gregory added.
The body was found on the riverbank behind 50 Campus Drive in Kearny by a warehouseman who then called police at 9:46 a.m. to alert them, Gregory said.
Members of the prosecutor’s office, Kearny Police and Fire Departments and of the Jersey City Police Department all responded to the scene.
The man’s wet body was lying face down on the shoreline and fully clothed, Gregory said. From the man’s clothing, police recovered a New York driver’s license and retired military identification issued to Mettelholzer, Gregory said.
It’s unclear how long the body had been in the water, Gregory said.
Cause and means of death will be determined upon completion of an autopsy by the New Jersey State North Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Newark, Gregory said.
However, when asked if foul play was suspected, Gregory said: “We are not investigating this case as a homicide.”
Gregory said he was unaware if any note had been found on or near the body. However, according to published reports, one week prior to his body being found, Mettelholzer’s wife had told Jersey City Police that her husband had phoned her that afternoon and asked her to check his Facebook page for a video in which he bade farewell to his family. As reported by NJ.com, police said that the phone call was traced to an area of the Hudson Mall by the Hackensack River and that Mettelholzer had been under treatment for severe depression.
– Ron Leir