Missing 26-year-old Caraquet man found dead in woods

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Benjamin Morais, 26, was last seen at a home in Caraquet on April 5. His body was located in a wooded area Sunday. (RCMP - image credit)
Benjamin Morais, 26, was last seen at a home in Caraquet on April 5. His body was located in a wooded area Sunday. (RCMP - image credit)

A 26-year-old man, who was reported missing in Caraquet earlier this month and was the subject of extensive searches, has been found dead, RCMP announced Monday.

Police said they were notified Sunday shortly after 5 p.m. that a body had been located by a volunteer firefighter in the woods along Chemin Allée des Albert in Caraquet.

"The body was positively identified as the missing man," RCMP said in a news release, without naming him.

Caraquet/Bas-Caraquet fire Chief Luc Dugas confirmed it was Benjamin Morais in a post on a Facebook group created to help find the young man, who had been missing for about two weeks.

"I have the unfortunate task of announcing the death of Benjamin Morais," Dugas wrote in French.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death, said RCMP.

Duagas credited the "almost tireless" work of his firefighters with the grim discovery. They found Morais's glasses Saturday, which allowed them to focus their search, he told the roughly 1,200 members of the Facebook group, called Retrouvons Benjamin Morais.

Morais was last seen on April 5 at a residence on Boulevard Saint-Pierre Ouest. He was reported missing to police on April 9.

On behalf of the family, I would like to thank all those who took their time to help us find him. - Luc Dugas, fire chief

Searches were conducted by the RCMP dog and air services, as well as by local fire departments, ground search and rescue, and community volunteers.

Police found personal items belonging to Morais on the bicycle trail between Rue du Portage and Rue de la Gare in Caraquet.

On April 14, RCMP said they believed he may have been in contact with others since his disappearance and were looking to speak to anyone with information about where he could be.

"On behalf of the family, I would like to thank all those who took their time to help us find him," wrote Dugas.

The RCMP also thanked members of the community, partner agencies and specialized policing services for their assistance during the search.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this time," Cpl. Jocelyn Lebouthillier said in a statement.