Body Found On Avalon Beach On New Year's Day - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Body Found On Avalon Beach On New Year's Day

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AVALON, N.J. -

Police say a body washed up along the beach in Cape May County early on New Year's Day.

It was found early Wednesday morning near where 23rd Street and the beach intersect in Avalon by people who wanted to watch the sunrise on the New Year.

Police have identified the victim as 26-year-old Brett Fitzpatrick, of Ocean City, N.J.

FOX 29's Drew Dickman reported live Wednesday that the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office has launched a death investigation.

This time of year, Avalon is normally as peaceful as the crashing of the waves in the ocean.

So, residents and visitors got quite a shock as news about a dead body on the beach spread around the area.

"You think it's, like, you know, a small town, it's got that safe feel. And to wake up especially on New Year's Day, to something like that is really upsetting and terrible," said Alexandra Bristow, who was visiting Avalon.

Kevin Rogers says his brother and his brother's fiancée went to the water to see the first sunrise of the New Year when they made the grisly discovery just before 7:30 a.m.

"They see something floating in the water a ways off, and so my brother ran over to see what it was. They thought maybe, you know, a dolphin or something," Rogers said.

He said they soon realized the body was human.

"My sister-in-law-to-be, she's a nurse, and they knew the person had passed away when they found it," he said.

Investigators spent the morning searching the beach for clues on how the young man died.

Avalon Police Chief William McCormick called the discovery devastating.

"Yeah, it's hard. Like I said, it's hard for everybody. It's not the way you want to start off a new year or day for anybody," he said.

It's unclear if this death has any connection to the disappearance of Edward Broderick, a fisherman who went missing Dec. 14.

Witnesses tell FOX 29 News the victim's clothes looked ripped, and the body appeared to be waterlogged.

The circumstances have locals speculating.

"There was a boat sinking out here not too long ago, and they never recovered the body, so we're just wondering if it's possible that's the same person," said Alan Gordon.

Authorities say they hope to learn more about how this man died when they perform an autopsy soon.

We spoke briefly to some friends of the victim outside the police station, but they were too upset to talk.

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