“We Have Closure Now” Body Recovered From New Jersey River Likely That of a Mom Who Went Missing 14 Years Ago

 “We Have Closure Now” Body Recovered From New Jersey River Likely That of a Mom Who Went Missing 14 Years Ago


A decade-long mystery in Camden, New Jersey, may have reached a somber resolution last week when a mud-covered car pulled from the Cooper River was found to likely contain the remains of Bernadine Waters Gunner, a mother who vanished in 2010. Gunner, then 52, was last seen alive by her family after she expressed despair over her inability to find a job and told them of her intentions to end her life.

For 14 years, the whereabouts of Gunner remained unknown, and her case went cold, leaving her family without answers. That changed dramatically when United Search Corps, a nonprofit search organization, dredged multiple vehicles from the river, including what is believed to be Gunner’s 2006 Hyundai Elantra.

Julia Young, Gunner’s daughter, expressed her mixed emotions in a Facebook post: “Thanks to Doug (United Search Corps) we have closure our family can now give my mom a proper burial,” she wrote. Young also criticized the local police’s efforts over the years: “As you already know Camden County Police didn’t do a great job with my mother’s case it took for a one band man to come here and dive into that water and discover my mom. We can’t thank him enough for what he has done. Almost 14 years with no answers and now we have them.”

The recovery operation, led by Doug Bishop of United Search Corps, utilized sonar equipment to locate the submerged vehicles. Bishop conveyed confidence that the remains found were indeed those of Gunner, citing the match of the vehicle registration to Gunner’s car and the discovery of her belongings inside. “We’re confident that it’s her. Definitely,” Bishop told NJ Advance Media.

The discovery brought a complex mix of grief and relief to Gunner’s family. Bishop described their reaction: “They were humble and grateful, real salt of the earth people. You could see in their eyes that what they had been carrying for 14 years they were no longer carrying.”

While the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the Pennsauken Police Department have initiated an investigation following the recovery of three vehicles from the river, the remains found in Gunner’s car still require DNA testing to confirm their identity officially.

This poignant development marks a potential end to a long period of uncertainty for Gunner’s family, offering them a chance to finally mourn and commemorate her life, as they prepare to give her the proper burial that was delayed for far too long.

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