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Roxbury Township woman missing since June found dead

ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – A Roxbury Township woman, who was reported missing on June 7 after she had not returned home from work, has been found dead, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll.

On Sunday, Nov. 19, human remains were located in a wooded area off of Howard Boulevard and Interstate 80 in Roxbury Township utilizing K9 Denali from the Ramapo Search and Rescue Organization, an entity that has been searching for Emanuele every Sunday since initially reported.

The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the remains to be those of 46-year-old Lara Emanuele, Carroll said.

“At this time, there is nothing to indicate a suspicious cause of death, and the Medical Examiner’s Office has listed the cause and manner of death as undetermined,” Carroll said.

Emanuele’s body was recovered following an extensive, coordinated search operation by officers, K-9s, and technical assistance from members of the Roxbury Police Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit, New Jersey State Police K9 Unit, New Jersey Search and Rescue (comprised of law enforcement and trained civilians), Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office K9, Bergen County Sheriff’s Office K9, Pennsylvania Search and Rescue, the Conservation Police and Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Missing Persons Unit and Major Crimes Unit. Additional searches were conducted by Ramapo Search and Rescue, coordinated by Roxbury Township Police Chief Dean Adone, Carroll said.

Search operations were conducted by several law enforcement agencies, and centered on the Berkshire Valley State Wildlife Management Area, as Emanuele’s vehicle was found in the nearby parking lot of a hotel on Howard Boulevard, Carroll said.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office extends its condolences to Ms. Emanuele’s family for their loss. Her disappearance generated an outpouring of support and concern for Ms. Emanuele and offers of assistance. Ms. Emanuele was a special person to her students, co-workers, family, and the community. I realize her disappearance has also generated rumors on social media that foul play was involved. While a thorough investigation continues into her death, at this time, evidence points to Emanuele having taken her own life. This was a determination that could not have been made prior to the recovery of her body,” Carroll said.

A handwritten note was discovered in her vehicle, indicating she did not want to be found. Surveillance footage from Walmart showed her shopping alone prior to her disappearance, and additional footage showed her exiting her vehicle in the parking lot alone and departing of her own free will, Carroll said.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office does not ordinarily share specific details regarding suicide investigations, however, there has been a great deal of inquiry related to Emanuele’s disappearance.  While the investigation has not yet concluded, some facts are being shared in the interest of transparency. While the outcome of the search is disappointing, the officers and volunteers who worked tirelessly to find Emanuele have earned our gratitude. Your efforts will help bring closure to this family and this community,” Carroll said.

“The Roxbury Police Department would like to offer our deepest sympathy to Lara’s family, friends, and students.  We hope that finding her will provide some sense of relief and help loved ones begin the healing process. It’s important to acknowledge the efforts of the Ramapo Search and Rescue Group.  Their team promised to continue to search the area until the case was closed and that’s exactly what they did. Their hard work and dedication played a crucial role in this investigation, and I would like to personally thank them,” Roxbury Police Chief Adone said,

“The Roxbury Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Missing Persons Unit never gave up on this investigation, and I am grateful for the members of my office who contributed to the resolution of this case.  We express our sincere condolences to Lara’s family and commend all of the agencies who never gave up on her, and hope the discovery of her whereabouts is of some comfort to her family and those who loved her,” Morris County Sheriff James Gannon said.

“Morris County is not untouched by the national mental health crisis, and unfortunately there have been 31 suicides reported to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit year to date, 11 of which our office have responded to assist local law enforcement with the investigation,” Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives McNally said.

In times of emotional distress and mental health crises, there are resources that can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255 or by texting 988.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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