MAHWAH — Nearly a week after his disappearance, the body of a missing Bergen County painter has been found.
Héctor Zamorano, 41, was found inside the Ramapo Valley reservation on Saturday morning, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton said in a statement. He was located about a 40-minute walk into the park by another hiker.
Cureton stated that there were no signs of foul play and that the death was ruled to be a suicide.
Héctor Zamorano reported missing
Zamorano went for a hike in the reservation around 9:20 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, according to Mahwah police. He did not bring his cell phone.
Police Chief Stephen Jaffe said that Zamorano's wife, Maria Luceromena, contacted authorities around 12 hours after his disappearance.
Search teams used an ATV, a drone, and K9 units on Monday, Mayor Jim Wysocki told the Daily Voice. The search expanded in size on Tuesday and included ariel units and the use of a boat along the Ramapo River.
However, the search was called off after two days. Their efforts turned up no evidence that Zamorano had been in the park, according to Jaffe.
Hiking to deal with stress
Luceromena told CBS New York last week that her husband frequently enjoyed hiking in the reservation.
Together, they came to the United States from Chile with their nine-year-old son around a year ago. She told News 12 New Jersey that they run a painting business.
However, they hadn't had a job in the weeks before his disappearance. To deal with the stress, Zamorano would go on hikes.
Luceromena called him a "perfect husband, a perfect father."
Includes previous reporting by Dan Alexander.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.
NJ Diners that are open 24/7
These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.
Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.
If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.
You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:
New Jersey's smallest towns by population
New Jersey's least populated municipalities, according to the 2020 Census. This list excludes Pine Valley, which would have been the third-smallest with 21 residents but voted to merge into Pine Hill at the start of 2022.