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Missing Stamford Man's Body Found In Waters Off Cove Island Park

Paulino Mendoza, a Stamford man who has been missing since Christmas Eve, has been found dead in the waters of Cove Island Park on Sunday afternoon.
Paulino Mendoza, a Stamford man who has been missing since Christmas Eve, has been found dead in the waters of Cove Island Park on Sunday afternoon. Photo Credit: Stamford Police

STAMFORD, Conn. -- A 24-year-old man who has been missing since Christmas Eve was found dead near the boat docks at Cove Island Park on Sunday afternoon, police said. 

An autopsy will be performed on Monday, police said.

Police were called at 1 p.m. about a body that was found near the boat docks. The deceased person was still wearing a leather jacket and red sneakers, police said. Identification found on the body identified him as Paulino Mendoza.

Mendoza, a resident of 17 Willowbrook Ave., was last seen on Christmas Eve at 11 Avery St., near Cove Island Park, police said. 

Friends had dropped Mendoza off at that location at his request and left, Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin said in early January after the search started for the missing man. 

The friends had returned to that location later that night because of their concerns about his level of drunkenness, police said. However, they didn't see him and left again, Conklin said.

Avery Street is only a few blocks from Willowbrook Avenue. Both are on the south side of Cove Road, and both residences are located on the same side of their respective streets. 

Police said Mendoza had no known ties to 11 Avery St.

Officers believe Mendoza was confused about his location due to his level of inebriation, police said.

His family notified police on Dec. 28 that they could not locate him. Police began an extensive search of the area, joined by his family members and other members of the Guatemalan community.

A K9 unit's tracking led police to the Cove Park vicinity, but police were unable to determine whether Mendoza had entered the water at that time.

Mendoza had been working in Stamford for several years since emigrating from his native Guatemala. 

In a statement issued Sunday night, Stamford Police expressed their condolences to the Mendoza family. 

Stamford Police also said they worked closely with the Guatemalan community and community leaders, the Neighbors link organization and the Guatemalan Consulate in attempt to locate Mendoza.

Police praised the help they received from Mendoza's family and fellow Guatemalans. Police are hoping to learn more about the cause of his death and are continuing the investigation into how Mendoza ended up in the water.

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is asked to notify Stamford Police detective bureau. All information will be kept confidential, police said.

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