PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — The body of a man found in the ocean off New Jersey last week has been identified as that of a man missing for four days, authorities said. Paterson police said 26-year-old Kiariff Alston of Glen Rock left his home on Oct. 10, telling his mother he was going to buy gas before going to work at a Home Depot store in Paterson.

He was reported missing Monday after his family found he never made it to his job. His car was tracked to Seaside Heights, and Glen Rock police began investigating.

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At about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Coast Guard officials were notified of a possible body in the water, Petty Officer Kimberly Reaves said. Alston was wearing scuba gear when his body was recovered off Barnegat Light, about two miles off the coast of Island Beach State Park, Reaves said.

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The Ocean County medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy, and the death remains under investigation.

Alston’s mother, Erica Dawson, told NorthJersey.com that her son suffered from a mental illness and was known to wander away from their home. She called him a “gentle giant.”

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