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Police believe body found in Lakes Bay is missing boater

By MADELAINE VITALE Staff Writer, (609) 272-7218, E-Mail/Press Of Atlantic City

PLEASANTVILLE - Authorities cannot positively identify a body found Tuesday in Lakes Bay until a forensic scientist examines the dental records, but they said they believe it is that of a 62-year-old boater reported missing Friday.

"He did have an ID on him," State Police Marine Unit Sgt. Joseph Petruzzi said Wednesday. "It is believed to be him, but a positive identification has not been made yet."

Petruzzi said the forensic scientist did not give police a time frame for the identification.

Ed Santon left the Bader Field Boat ramp in Atlantic City in his 25-foot sport boat at about 2 p.m. last Thursday. His sister called the Coast Guard on Friday when Santon failed to return home. Authorities then began their search.

On Tuesday, a commercial fisherman found a body in the southwest corner of Lakes Bay, a back bay between Atlantic City and Pleasantville and Egg Harbor Township on the mainland.

The fisherman reported his discovery to the State Police Marine Station in Atlantic City.

The body was turned over to the Atlantic County Medical Examiner's Office for further investigation.

Santon did not tell anyone where he was going or when he would return, authorities said.

The Coast Guard found his boat Friday anchored close to shore in Lakes Bay.

It appeared that Santon tried to walk ashore, Petruzzi said. Police saw muddy footprints on the bow of the boat and in the shallow water where the boat was located.

Atlantic City police found Santon's car still parked at the Bader Field marina at 5:26 p.m. Friday.
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