Body pulled from Lantern Hill Pond

Ledyard — An autopsy has determined there was no foul play involved in the death of a missing New York man whose body was recovered this week from Lantern Hill Pond, according to the state office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

According to a press release from the commander of Troop E in Montville, Lt. Michael J. Thomas, troopers and divers from the state police Emergency Service Unit located the body of Sijoon Park of Flushing, N.Y., Wednesday night after a two-day search.

Park's death was ruled an accidental drowning, according to results of an autopsy conducted at the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Thomas said Park had taken the bus to Foxwoods Resort Casino from New York Sunday. Late Sunday afternoon, his wife received a text message from Park saying that he had left the casino and was going for a hike on Lantern Hill before he returned to Flushing. That was the last she heard from him, according to the press release.

Two days later, on Tuesday evening, according to the release, Park's wife drove to the bus station in New York and found that his vehicle was still at the terminal. She took the bus to Foxwoods and reported to the police at the casino that her husband was missing.

Using a K-9 and photographs Park had sent his wife during the hike, troopers identified the path Park took behind Two Trees Hotel, which has steep drop-offs.

Divers from the Emergency Services Unit were called in to assist. Search-and-rescue K-9 teams also were deployed to the surrounding area Tuesday and Wednesday. Searchers found a pair of shoes and cigarettes belonging to Park, Thomas said.

Divers searched the area of Lantern Hill Pond into the night and located a body with the use of side-scan sonar. The deceased was identified as Park through his New York driver's license, Thomas said.

On Friday, State Police Sgt. James Gilman said investigation into the circumstances leading to Park's death remained under investigation by police from Troop E in conjunction with Mashantucket Tribal Police and detectives from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad.

Gilman said Park's disappearance initially had not fit the criteria for a public notification.

g.smith@theday.com

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