Police release identity of man who drown in Bear Mountain State Park creek


TOWN OF HIGHLANDS – State Police said Thursday that the man who was found dead in Bear Mountain State Park in the Town of Highlands had slipped and fell into Popolopen Creek and drowned.

Troopers said the victim, Omar Benitez, 23, of White Plains, was hiking with two friends when he became separated from them at about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9.

A nighttime search by State Police, Park Police and their bloodhound, until 2:45 a.m., had negative results.

The search was terminated and resumed at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Benitez’s body was located at about 10 a.m. in the creek.

Police said there were no signs of foul play. The investigation is continuing.

Assisting in the Wednesday morning search were State Police investigators and uniformed officers, State Police drone, aviation and underwater recovery units, and the State Special Operations Response Team.

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