Peretz Sontag was found dead in his vehicle by a hiker at the bottom of a 60-foot embankment in Harriman State Park, N.Y.

Sontag, 50, went missing March 14, and search parties have been looking for him ever since. Sontag was a staple of the Orthodox Jewish community, and Ramapo’s Orthodox Jewish community, as well as Orthodox communities in the area, has been leading searches.

Sontag was last heard from Friday, March 14, when spoke to his friend and neighbor Chesky Ostreicher. Ostreicher revealed that Sontag had been depressed recently, after a business partner had ripped him off, leaving his business in trouble. Furthermore, Sontag was reportedly unhappy living in Pomona, N.Y., and preferred to live in Israel. Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma added to the concern, saying that Sontag had mentioned hurting himself prior to his disappearance.

Sontag’s family – he has seven children – was holding out hope that he would be found alive, raising awareness by appearing on various news shows and printing flyers. The family offered a $10,000 reward for Sontag’s safe return.

“He wouldn’t disappear for an hour, let alone a day or days, so we’re extremely concerned for his well being,” his wife Tammy Sontag said during a press conference before he was found.

Sontag was found on around March 24, nearly ten days after he went missing. Police are reportedly not treating the death as a suicide, though reports are conflicted. Searches for Sontag had actually canvased around the area where he was eventually found, but due to the dangers of the terrain, the search parties were unable to spot Sontag’s car.

An autopsy was not performed due to Sontag’s religious believes. Funeral services were held Monday, March 24, and Sontag will be buried in Israel.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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