Body Found in N.J. River Identified as Missing Reporter David Bird

 / Updated 

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

In a tragic end to a missing-persons case, a body pulled from a New Jersey river was identified Thursday as Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird, who vanished more than a year ago after leaving his home for a walk.

The remains were spotted the evening before by two men canoeing in the Passaic River, about a mile from one of Bird's favorite walking spots, authorities said.

The energy-markets journalist's body was discovered on the same day that Bird's wife, Nancy, launched a new website appealing for help in finding her husband. He was identified through dental records.

In a statement, the "deeply saddened" family asked for privacy but thanked law enforcement for "their tireless efforts to find David" and friends, neighbors and strangers "who have prayed for David and for the family over the past 14 months."

No cause or manner of death has been released.

Follow NBC News Investigations on Twitter and Facebook.

Bird, a 55-year-old father of two who had survived a liver transplant, was last seen Jan. 11, 2014, just before he took a break from putting away Christmas decorations at his Millington home to get some fresh air before it started to rain.

He left without his cellphone or the pills he had to take twice a day to prevent his body from rejecting the new liver and simply never came back. Searches of the woods and river turned up no trace of him, and investigators never came up with a good theory to explain his disappearance.

"That's what the most frustrating thing is: there is nothing definitively leading us to believe what happened," Chief Michael Mazzeo told NBC News in January.

"You try to use logic and the facts and come up with some sort of conclusion. That's the bizarre part of it. There's nothing to say he didn't walk away from his home, nothing to say someone didn't do something to him, nothing to say there was not an accident. Nothing to say any of those things did happen."

Bird's wife had created a shrine to her husband near the family dinner table, where an empty chair marked his absence.

"It's been an emotional roller-coaster that doesn't stop," she said.

IN-DEPTH

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news