Nick Pratico, the Mercer County Community College student who had been missing for more than a month, was found dead Monday near the college campus on Monday, police said.
The Notre Dame High graduate became the subject of extensive search when he went missing in September after freshman orientation at the college’s West Windsor campus. His family used social media to try to get information about his whereabouts, and in mid-October, a reward was offered for any valuable information.
His body was found Monday morning in the woods along Old Trenton Road across from the college. The cause of death is unknown. Pratico’s family is awaiting autopsy results for some answers.
“It is with heavy hearts that we share the painful news that the authorities notified us that they have found Nicholas. We do not know the particulars, and are sadly awaiting the results of the autopsy,” family members wrote on the Facebook page Find Nick Pratico.
“While we hoped and prayed for a different outcome, we have been buoyed by our faith and the strength of our family, neighbors, and the community at large. We want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and incredible efforts to bring Nicholas home safely. We are grateful to all the authorities, who have worked with us tirelessly from the beginning of our search,” reads the statement. We are devastated and trying to process this latest news so our family would appreciate privacy at this very difficult time. We will share plans for Nicholas’s services as soon as they are scheduled.”
On the day Pratico went missing, a security camera at the college recorded him wearing a light blue shirt, and black pants. He was carrying a blue backpack. He did not drive to school and was given a ride. He was last seen at about 3 p.m. His family reported him missing at 10 p.m. that night. His school identification card was found on a campus lawn near the Edinburg Road entrance to the school a few days after he disappeared.
The Trentonian has reported that Practio was found hanging from a tree, but law enforcement officials have not confirmed that he was, or that his death was a suicide. They have also not provided an estimate on the time of death pending the autopsy.
Pratico, 18, loved theater and hoped to pursue acting full-time. He graduated from Notre Dame High last June.