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PA Dad Of Four Missing Over 1 Year Found Dead In 2nd Story Of Stranger's Garage: Reports

Luke David Cornelius.
Luke David Cornelius. Photo Credit: Facebook/Luke Cornelius (overlay); Google Maps (Street View)

A year-long search for a beloved father of four has ended in a western Pennsylvania garage, according to multiple media outlets. 

Lucas David Cornelius, 28, of Johnstown, has been identified as the body found in the 2nd flood of the garage in the 1500 block of Franklin Street in Johnstown Roxbury neighborhood around 5:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, WJAC reports. 

The body was “severely decomposed” and looked like it had been in the garage “for an extended period of time," Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees told the Tribune-Democrat. "It appeared as though the person had been staying on the second floor of the garage," the outlet reports citing Lees. 

Cornelius's registered address was about three blocks away, according to public records.

He went missing on July 27, 2021, according to numerous reports. 

"We received a missing person report from Margaret Cornelius on September 3, 2021. A supplemental report was generated on September 24, 2021, and BCI completed a supplemental report on November 3, 2021," Johnstown Police Chief Richard Pritchard told WJAC in an email in April 2022 the weekend of yet another search party for him. "BCI Detectives also spoke with a known associate... who indicated that Cornelius went to hide-out in the woods because there were warrants for him and he did not want to go back to jail...Cornelius is currently listed as wanted and missing in the NCIC system."

The latest court docket was for failing to appear after a public drunkenness offense, but his ex-girlfriend noted in numerous social media posts that he's been wanted on warrants before and he typically does not skip town, and his deep love for his family, especially for his mom had always stopped him from running in the past. 

Cornelius' cause of death is pending a toxicology report but foul play is not suspected, Lees told the TribDem.

He was also found with drug paraphernalia, WTAJ reports. 

Cornelius had a history of heroin use and made headlines in 2016 when he overdosed in a maternity ward where his girlfriend and newborn were staying, CBS 21 reported at the time. 

It is believed that an overdose may have led to his death. 

His friends and family just wanted to help Cornelius. They deeply care about him and never stopped searching for him. 

Multiple search parties and missing persons groups, as well as fundraisers, were run on Facebook in hopes that someone might have a lead. 

He was a class of 2012 Greater Johnstown High School graduate, according to his social media. 

He "was a wondering soul who could never quite find his place in this world. He was missing from our lives for a long time, now he is found and finally at peace," his obituary reads. 

Cornelius is survived by his parents Margaret and David; children: Logan, Luna, Angel, and Evelyn; extended family and friends, according to his obituary.

There will be no viewing or service at this time, but a memorial service is being planned for a later time. The family is being served by the Francis G. Ozog Funeral Home, Inc.  

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