Police Confirm Finding Body of Missing Yeshiva Student in Jerusalem Forest
Israeli police have confirmed that the body found in a forested area of Jerusalem is that of American student, Aron Sofer, 23, missing since Friday.
The body was transferred to the Abu Kabir forensics center for positive identification, police said.
Sofer had been missing since Friday, when he and a friend went on a hike in a difficult rocky and wooded portion of the forest. At some point during the hike, Sofer and his friend apparently became separated, with Sofer never emerging, according to the JNS News Service.
Yisrael Erlich, a United Hatzalah volunteer was among the first on the scene and described the turn of events, in a statement sent to reporters.
“Soon after beginning our search, we came across a man’s body among the shrubbery that seemed to match the missing student’s description,” he said.
“We immediately notified the police via our phone app and a large group of police and rapid-responders quickly appeared on the scene. I was not expecting the incident to end in such a horrific tragedy,” Erlich said.
Spokesman Eli Beer said, “We are very sorry about the tragic ending of the story, we were hoping and praying for a positive end.”
Nightly prayer vigils were held in Sofer’s hometown of Lakewood, New Jersey, and a prayer vigil had been planned for Thursday evening at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Sofer will be laid to rest on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at the Eretz HaChaim Cemetery in Beit Shemesh, his cousin, Avi Meyer, said in a Facebook post.