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The bodies of a missing New Jersey couple were discovered Tuesday in a “densely wooded area” not far from their home.
The Stafford Township Police said the bodies of Gary Parker, 67, and his wife Lorraine, 60, were discovered around 1 p.m. Tuesday by a Stafford Township Police Department drone in Pine Barrons, a 1.1 million-acre nature preserve, according to a statement from police.
“The area they were located was heavily wooded and nearly impassable by foot,” Stafford Township Police Capt. James Vaughn told Oxygen.com.
An autopsy will be conducted later this week to determine an official cause of death, but police said “no foul play is believed to be involved.”
“Our department sends its condolences to the Parker’s family and friends,” police said.
Although Vaughn said it will be “difficult to determine what happened that led to this entire incident,” he said investigators do not believe the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide.
Vaughn told Oxygen.com earlier this week that the couple was last seen on Nov. 17; however, someone reported speaking to the couple on Nov. 21.
According to Vaughn, Gary Parker’s ATV was found “near the back of his wooded property with his shotgun strapped to it.”
Although investigators believed he had used the ATV at some point, it was not clear when that may have been.
The couple’s daughter, Lindsay Parker, posted on Facebook on Nov 23 that her parents were going for a “quad ride in the woods near their home in Warren Grove” when they disappeared.
“Please keep both of them in your prayers,” she pleaded.
Vaughn confirmed to Oxygen.com that appeared the couple had gone out riding when they died.
Before making the discovery Tuesday, police had extensively searched the heavily wooded area to try to find the missing couple. In addition to combing the area by foot, authorities also searched the woods with ATVs, K-9s, air support and drones.
Police said the couple’s bodies were ultimately found “in the vicinity of their residence.”
The Pine Barrens, which are also sometimes known as the Pinelands, comprise more than 1.1 million acres and are made up of dense pine forests, sandy roads and cedar swamps, according to VisitNJ.org.
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