TULLYTOWN, Pa. – The remains of a white man were found Tuesday in a Pennsylvania landfill where authorities have been searching for the body of a missing college student, police said.
While authorities wouldn't confirm the body of John Fiocco Jr. had been recovered, the student's uncle said the family was in mourning and thanked police for "bringing closure" to the case.
"Johnny was caring, sensitive, smart and witty," Joseph Fiocco said outside the family home in Mantua Township. He asked anyone with information about his nephew to contact authorities. He would not answer questions.
New Jersey state police Capt. Al Della Fave said there had been a "significant development" but would not disclose any further information. Tullytown Patrolman John Finby said the remains of the white male were found at 1:45 p.m.
Authorities had been searching the landfill for more than three weeks for Fiocco, a freshman at The College of New Jersey.
A Mercer County Medical Examiner's Office van was seen pulling up and leaving the landfill, part of which was covered with a blue tarp. Officials, clad in white jumpsuits, could be seen carefully carrying a long bag and placing it in the back of the van.
Authorities had been searching the Tullytown, Pa., landfill, which receives trash from the school's campus in nearby Ewing, since April 1.
A spokesman for the school said he had no information Tuesday.
Law enforcement officials scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday at The College of New Jersey to discuss developments in the case.
Fiocco, 19, was last seen in the early morning of March 25 after returning to his dormitory from an off-campus party. His roommate reported him missing to campus police about 36 hours later.
The following day, investigators found blood in and around the trash bin behind Fiocco's dorm. After a laboratory confirmed the blood was Fiocco's, investigators started sifting through a 1-acre, 20-foot deep area at the landfill, which authorities believe received the trash from Fiocco's dorm.
All along, authorities have classified the search for Fiocco as a missing person's case. They say the Mantua Township native may have slid down a trash chute into the bin, even though a special camera sent down the chute found no traces of blood.
An arts major, Fiocco in an online profile described himself as a fan of Philadelphia sports teams, professional wrestling and Batman. He graduated from Clearview Regional High School in Harrison Township, where he played football and was track team captain.
At a prayer vigil last month, former classmates recalled him as a smart, charismatic, well-like young man.
On Tuesday evening, a Tullytown woman who said she heard the news on the radio arrived at the landfill, where she placed a small pot of pink begonias and three white votive candles.
"It's just so sad," said Margaret Marino, who said she has two college-age children of her own.
At the college, one student said the discovery was "just a really sad way to end the school year."
"I think that it's truly a sad thing that they found the body because I guess everyone here on campus was still holding hope that he may turn up and be safe," said Kyle Schimpf, a freshman from Howell.