Still probing how body ended up in river

By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent 


The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Belleville Police Department are continuing to investigate the death of a Newark man whose body was found last Wednesday morning in the Second River off Mill St. His car was also in the water, reportedly some 150-200 feet away from the body.

The victim was identified as Roosevelt Padilla-Correa, 67, but, as of press time, there was no information available on the specific cause and manner of his death.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, it appeared that Padilla-Correa’s vehicle crashed into the water near the intersection of Franklin Ave. and Mill St. the previous night, Tuesday, March 10.

The Second River is the stream that parallels Mill St., crosses beneath Franklin Ave. and runs through the Belleville portion of Branch Brook Park.

Sources told The Observer that the auto apparently went into the river in the vicinity of the DAV Post, near the northwest corner of Franklin and Mill. The body reportedly was found in the water behind Nanina’s in The Park, on the other side of Franklin.

On the night of March 10, there had been heavy rain, and a dense fog blanketed the area. There is speculation that these may have been factors in the car apparently driving into the water.

The sources said the doors on the vehicle were open when it was found mid-morning Wednesday.

The investigation is being conducted by the prosecutor’s Major Crimes Task Force and the Belleville Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph Rotonda.

Results of an autopsy by the county Medical Examiner are pending.

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