Student's Body Found in Pa. Landfill

Searchers at a Pennsylvania landfill found the body of a college student who disappeared more than a month ago, but authorities said Wednesday they don't suspect foul play.

John Fiocco Jr., a freshman at The College of New Jersey, was last seen early March 25 when he returned to his campus dormitory after a party.

Investigators later found his blood on the dormitory's trash bin, which led them to the landfill in nearby Tullytown, Pa. After more than three weeks of searching, they found the body there Tuesday. Fiocco was identified through dental records, state police and prosecutors said Wednesday.

"Our sincere condolences go out to his parents, John and Susan Fiocco, and the entire Fiocco family and to the administration and students of The College of New Jersey," said state police Superintendent Rick Fuentes.

Fuentes said there is no evidence that Fiocco was stabbed or shot.

He said the investigation is continuing, but Fiocco's death is not classified as a homicide. Investigators contacted 1,000 students and school workers, and interviewed more than 150 of Fiocco's friends and relatives, and have no evidence of foul play, he said.

Fiocco's family declined to comment Wednesday. His uncle had said Tuesday after the body was found that the family was in mourning.

"Johnny was caring, sensitive, smart and witty," Joseph Fiocco said. He asked anyone with information about what had happened to his nephew to contact authorities.

The search for Fiocco started 36 hours after he was last seen, when his roommate reported him missing.

Investigators found pints of blood and blood-soaked material in and around a trash bin behind the dorm. After a laboratory confirmed the blood was Fiocco's, investigators started sifting through a 1-acre, 20-foot deep area at the landfill where the dorm's trash is dumped.

Authorities have said Fiocco may have slid down a trash chute into the bin, although a camera used to scan the chute found no traces of blood.

The injuries that Fiocco's body had sustained included bone fractures and were consistent with being processed by a trash disposal system, authorities said. They would not say whether the injuries had been sustained before or after Fiocco died.

Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini Jr. said it is possible authorities will never learn exactly what happened.

Authorities held their grim news conference on the campus of the college of about 7,000 students, where signs of mourning were evident.

A small, potted tree was set up outside a central campus building and students had hung about two dozen messages on it. "I pray that you are safe wherever you are," one message read.

In the windows of a dorm across from the one in which Fiocco lived, yellow signs — each with a single letter — spelled out, "You are in our hearts."

"It must be really difficult for the family," said Alex Seise, 19, a freshman from Waldwick. "Everyone's hearts and prayers go out to them," he said.