HEARTBREAKING: Authorities Thursday night confirmed that a body found in a Route 46 hotel earlier in the day is that of a former Totowa police officer and Passaic County sheriff’s officer.
Gary Potenzone, Jr., 41, had “failed to check out as scheduled” from the Ramada Inn in Totowa, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Totowa Police Chief Carmen Veneziano said.
So staff went to his room to conduct a welfare check around 11:30 a.m. and called police after finding his body, they said.
No wrongdoing was immediately suspected.
“There were no signs of physical force or violence at the scene, and the police do not believe there is any imminent danger to anyone in community,” Valdes and Veneziano explained in a joint statement.
The state Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy “sometime next week” to determine the exact cause and manner of death, the prosecutor and police chief said.
Potenzone, whose family has been well-known in town for nearly a half-century, joined the Totowa force in 2009 but left two months ago. The father of three had been dealing with personal issues, those who knew him said Thursday.
A GoFundMe campaign was established to "help ensure his children have a bright future, so they can have the life he always wanted for them," Paul Rubestello wrote.
TO DONATE: Potenzone Family (GoFundMe)
Meanwhile, the investigation remains active, Valdes and Veneziano said.
Anyone with information that could help in the probe is asked to contact the prosecutor’s tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Totowa Police Department at (973) 790-3700.
Authorities also urge any law enforcement officer who is experiencing stress or troubles to reach out.
COPLINE, based in Freehold, is a non-profit group dedicated to "serving active and retired law enforcement officers and their loved ones by providing CONFIDENTIAL 24/7 trained retired officers for callers that are dealing with various stressors law enforcement careers encounter both on and off the job.
"Whether it is just a 'bad day' or a crisis we are here to listen," organizers say. "We are able to assist with a referral to a culturally competent mental health professional."
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