This story has been updated with additional information.
A West Windsor man who had been missing since the evening of Wednesday, July 22 was found alive after a “massive” search of Community Park and the surrounding areas, West Windsor Police said.
Cameron Ward, 25, was discovered at about 2:27 p.m. on Friday, July 24 in a secluded area of the park. He was in thick foliage near the banks of Grover’s Mill Pond, which is at the northernmost section of the park. West Windsor Police Lt. Mark Lee said that Ward was conscious and transported to a local hospital. His condition is unknown at this time.
Ward was located with the assistance of a drone that was being piloted by Officer Frank Sabatino. The officer and a K-9 unit were working together while conducting a systematic search near the banks of the pond.
Ward had been missing for about 45 hours and suffered through heavy thunderstorms and extreme heat during that time, Lt. Lee said.
After more than a day of fruitless searching, authorities had closed the park to the public on the morning of July 24 in order to conduct a “massive search” by a task force made up of search and rescue teams, police, fire, and emergency services workers, said Lt. Lee.
Ward was last seen around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22 when he left to take the three family dogs for a walk. He frequently took the pets to the dog park in West Windsor Community Park.
The victim’s mother contacted the WWPD at about 9 p.m. after a “good Samaritan” found the dogs wandering without a caretaker nearby and returned them to the mother’s residence, Lt. Lee said.
An investigation and search of the area between the victim’s residence and Community Park ensued. In addition, Ward’s information was entered into the National Crime Information Center computer system as a missing/endangered person. Authorities found no trace of Ward in the initial search.
Another search was conducted the following day by multiple officers and K-9s from WWPD, Robbinsville Township Police and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. Again, the search came up empty.
The decision was then made to conduct the task force search that ultimately wound up finding Ward.
Personnel involved in the search and rescue task force included: WWPD patrol officers, detectives and superior officers; the West Windsor Division of Fire and Emergency Services Squad; Princeton Junction Volunteer Fire Company; West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company; Fire Police; Plainsboro Volunteer Fire Company; the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office; Robbinsville Township Police; N.J. State Police; N.J. Search and Rescue; Mid Atlantic Search and Rescue; Community Search and Rescue; Lambertville New Hope Rescue; Ramapo Rescue Dogs; Central Jersey K-9; Mercer County Communications; and the Mercer County Emergency Services Communcation Center.
Lt. Lee said that West Windsor Police Chief Garofalo thanked everyone involved in the successful outcome. “They never gave up in finding this person,” Lt. Lee said. “Without the teamwork, incredible efforts from numerous agencies, and the usage of the latest technologies (including K-9s and Drones), this incident would have had a tragic ending.”