Two-day rescue effort leads to discovery in Stony Brook

January 24, 1995 (~estimated)

Two-day rescue effort leads to discovery in Stony Brook

By Hank Kalet and Craig LaBan

Staff Writers

The second full-scale search for a missing person in Princeton Town-ship in two days ended tragically Saturday when a township man was found drowned in the Stony Brook.

The death of E. William Dey, 67, of Brearly Road, was ruled a suicide by the Mercer County Medical Examiner’s Office, Assistant Prosecutor Lewis J. Korngut said Monday.

Mr. Dey’s body was discovered in Stony Brook between Mercer Road and Route 206 at 11:12 a.m. Saturday after a seven-hour search that spanned two days and involved search dogs and nearly 100 rescuers.

Mr. Dey, a township resident since 1983, had suffered from a sudden, severe chemical depression that had prompted him to see a psychiatrist the day before he was reported missing, his wife Roswitha said Monday.

She said the ill health of Mr. Dey’s 94-year-old mother may have triggered the depression.

“He fought this with all his might,” she said. “But once this physical illness has taken hold of you, even the strongest wills cannot fight it.”

The psychiatrist had prescribed Mr. Dey a new anti-depressant Thursday, and Mrs. Dcy had hoped it would help.

“We had breakfast together Friday morning, and he told me not to worry about him. He said he would be fine,” she said.

Mr Dey left the house around 10 a.m. to run errands, she said.

“He was going to be back by 1 p.m. so that we could sec an afternoon movie,” she said.

But when he did not return by around 1:15 p.m., she called the police, who alerted other police departments in the area to watch for Mr. Dcy’s blue 1989 Mercedes.

At 4:20 p.m. Friday, someone walking on the foot path between Rosedale Road and Edgcrstoune Road — about 100 feet from Stony Brook — found the car running and the door open.

Police were notified and soon after began their second major missing persons search in as many days. On Thursday, nearly 60 rescuers and four teams of search dogs combed the area surrounding the…

Johnson Park Elementary Scho0l in search of an elderly township man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who had wandered away from his home that afternoon. He was found alive about five hours later, stuck in the mud of a nearby construction site (See story, Page 6A).

Many of the same fire, police, first aid and canine rescue squads returned to Johnson Park Friday, which served as the command post for both operations.

Members of the Princeton Fire Department, Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Princeton First Aid Ladies Auxiliary, Hopewell Borough Fire Co., Kingston Fire Department, Princeton Junction Fire Co., Lawrenceville Fire Co., and township police participated in the search, which began at 6 p.m.

Search dogs from the Palisades Search and Rescue Service, the South Brunswick K-9 unit and West Jersey Search and Rescue were also called in to assist in the search, which was temporarily halted at midnight because of lack of sufficient manpower, according to a written statement released by the township police department.

The search resumed in the Stony Brook area on Saturday at 10 a.m. using the Princeton Battlefied Skate Park as a command post and four search teams with three dogs from the West Jersey Search and Rescue team.

The body, which was located by members of Princeton fire and first aid squads and Debbie Schadt of the West Jersey Search and Rescue team and her dog Judah, was found about 11/2 to 2 miles from Mr. Dey’s car, said Township Police Lt. Peter Savalli.

It remains unclear where he entered Stony Brook, he said.

Mr. Dey, who owned four car washes in Monmouth and Ocean County, moved to Princeton Town-ship in 1983 from Rumson. where he had spent most of his life following college, said Mrs. Dey.

They thought that Princeton would be a “stimulating place” to raise their son, Hendrik, who is now a senior at the Lawrenceville School, she said.

Mr. Dey, who was raised in Short Hills, was a three-sport athelete at Dartmouth, where he graduated in 1950 with letters in football, baseball and tennis.

He had been drafted by the Boston Red Sox out of high school, and was drafted as a halfback by the Thriller Balitmore Colts, but he chose instead to pursue a career in marketing and advertising, she said.

Mr. Dey’s obituary appears on Page 9A.

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