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A manhunt in New Jersey is underway for a suspect accused of killing a hunter on a reservation, authorities said.
Shawn Massey, 38, of Gibbsboro, was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in the Dec. 23 homicide of Joseph Bottino, 54, who was found fatally stabbed and beaten at a reservation in Pine Hill, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and Pine Hill police said Monday.
Relatives told investigators Bottino, of Sicklerville, was known to hunt in the Pine Hill Scout Reservation and had done so many times previously. An autopsy found he died from multiple stab wounds and blunt force injuries, authorities said.
Evidence found at the scene led investigators to Massey, whose relatives reported him missing days after Bottino was found dead and said they hadn’t heard from him since Dec. 23, Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer and Pine Hill police said.
Authorities have said Massey left his parents’ home on Dec. 23 and has not returned. Relatives reported he has diagnosed mental health issues and has been known to “possibly become aggressive” if approached, authorities said.
“Detectives urge anyone who sees Massey or knows his whereabouts not to make contact with him and instead call law enforcement,” Mayer and Pine Hill Police Chief Christopher Winters said in a previous statement.
Officers have ramped up their presence in the area, Mayer said, but Massey was not in custody as of late Monday.
“We understand many people are concerned that an arrest has not been made,” the prosecutor said in a statement Monday. “We have detectives working at all hours on this case and we will continue to do so until Massey is located.”
A message seeking comment from Pine Hill police and Camden County prosecutors was not immediately returned early Tuesday.
Bottino, a married father of two, was remembered as a man with an “infectious kindness” who loved his family “ferociously,” according to an online fundraiser.
“Joe Bottino Sr. was found fatally brutalized in Pine Hill, NJ, while out hunting in one of his favorite locations,” the website reads. “An enormous heart equates to an enormous loss, which the family is still coming to terms with.”
Anyone with information on Massey’s whereabouts should call the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office at (856) 397-3485 or Pine Hill police at (856) 783-1589.
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