New Jersey Couple Who Mysteriously Went Missing Found Dead Lying Together in Woods Near Home

Gary and Lorraine Parker, who had been missing for two weeks, were found on Tuesday afternoon in a wooded area around 200 yards away from their home

Lorraine and Gary Parker
Lorraine and Gary Parker. Photo: Stafford Township Police Department (2)

A missing New Jersey couple was found dead in a densely wooded area near their home.

The Stafford Township Police Department announced on Tuesday that the bodies of Gary and Lorraine Parker had been found that afternoon in the Warren Grove woods — a remote area of the Pine Barrens.

"Our department sends its condolences to the Parker's family and friends," police said in a statement.

Stafford police Capt. James Vaughn tells PEOPLE the couple was found lying together about 70-75 yards from an ATV that they are believed to have driven into the woods — and around 200-250 yards away from their home.

"The only way we were able to find them was by using a drone," Vaughn told the Asbury Park Press, describing the area where they were found as "the thickest part of the Pine Barrens you're going to find."

"Without the use of a drone, it was nearly impossible. You could have walked by them and not seen them unless you were directly looking," he added.

Although a cause of death is currently unknown, police said on Tuesday that they do not believe foul play was involved.

Autopsies for the couple are pending, and reports could take at least six weeks to come in, police say.

Gary, 67, and Lorraine, 60, were last seen on Nov. 17 — although a neighbor reported speaking with them on Nov. 21, according to local NBC station WCAU. Their daughter reported them missing on Nov. 22.

"It's unusual that people would just disappear like that," neighbor Bill Bennett told the outlet. "This area is not that large of an area to get lost."

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After their daughter reported them missing, a search for the couple began on Nov. 23, according to police.

Over 100 volunteers, police officers and firefighters joined in the search, which was turned over to Stafford detectives and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office on Nov. 24, per the Asbury Park Press.

Prior to the discovery of their bodies, an ATV was found with a shotgun belonging to Gary inside, according to the Asbury Park Press. A cane belonging to Lorraine, who had mobility issues, was also found at their home.

Police still have no idea how the couple ended up in the densely wooded area.

"I don't think we're ever going to know," Vaughn told the Asbury Park Press. "I mean, there wasn't an ATV crash per se, but why they got off and why they ended up in the thicket the way they did far from their house, we're never going to know."

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