March 20, 2015 10:55 AM

The search for a missing Wall Street Journal reporter ended in tragedy on Thursday after two men discovered his body in a river just a mile from his New Jersey home.

David Bird, 55, was last seen more than a year ago when he went out for a walk and never returned. Authorities said his body was found in the Passaic River on Wednesday by two men who were canoeing, NBC News reports.

The two men spotted a red jacket in the middle of the river and called the police, who later discovered human remains, according to the Associated Press. They were positively identified as the missing journalist by his dental records just a day later. Police did not elaborate on what condition the body was found in.

A statement from the father-of-two’s family thanked authorities for “their tireless efforts to find David,” as well as “the countless friends, neighbors and strangers who have prayed for David and for the family over the past 14 months.”

Bird vanished without a trace on Jan. 11, 2014. He left behind his cellphone and the lifesaving pills he’d been taking to treat his liver. Searches of the nearby woods and river came up empty.

There was a moment of hope when it appeared that the family’s credit card had been used in Mexico, but it ended up that it had simply been hacked.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t stop,” Bird’s wife Nancy told NBC News in January. “The number one thing that keeps me going is my children. They are the reason I get up every day and function.”

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