A body discovered near an oil platform in Orange County has been positively identified as Zachary Briley, a disabled man who vanished more than two months ago.
The body was recovered on December 31, 2015 and it appeared to have been in the water more than a week before it was found, coroner’s officials say. However, it wasn’t until February 8th that the body was identified as Zachary.
Although the cause and manner of death have not yet been determined, foul play is not suspect, a spokesperson for the Long Beach Police Department told Dateline. “The investigation remains ongoing,” an email to Dateline from the department reads.
Allison Briley, Zachary’s mother, also confirmed the news early Tuesday.
“It is with pure sadness and devastation that I am sending you this message to let you known my son Zachary Briley has been found deceased,” Allison Briley, told Dateline in a Facebook message. “I can’t breathe. I am heartbroken.”
Zachary disappeared on December 19, 2015 from the independent living center complex in Long Beach, California where he's resided since August 2015. The complex is run through the Harbor Regional Center's H.O.P.E Program. According to his mother, Zachary was developmentally disabled and had the mental capacity of a 10 or 11-year-old.
Allison Briley says a social worker, who met with Zachary twice a week as part of the housing program, told her there were no signs Zachary was in distress two days before he was last seen.
Several conflicting stories also emerged in the weeks after Zachary disappeared, with one neighbor saying they saw him leaving the morning he disappeared with two bags around 8:00 a.m., and another told Allison he was walking down the street at 8:30 a.m. without any of his belongings.
Allison insists her son’s case was not handled in a respectful manner from the beginning, and says she is still very concerned with how it’s being investigated now. Officials say they were pursuing several leads before Zachary’s remains were identified.
Anyone with information regarding Zachary’s disappearance is asked to call the Long Beach Police Department Missing Person Detail at (562) 570-7246.