Brian X. McCrone

Body of Missing Former Marine from South Jersey Found in Clementon Lake

Lance James, who spent two tours with the Marine Corps in the Middle East, disappeared in early December.

A former Marine who disappeared Dec. 2 after a confrontation at a local bar in Camden County was found in a nearby lake, authorities said Saturday.

Lance James, 29, disappeared on Dec. 2 following an altercation at Hide-A-Way Tavern in Clementon. Family and friends searched with the help of state police the week before Christmas, but his body was not found in three nearby lakes and a wooded area.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced that James's body was found Friday during a search of Bottom Lake. The prosecutor's office said the cause of death was not yet determined, but there were no signs of trauma.

The bar, Hide-A-Way, was less than a mile from James' apartment. first reported on James' disappearance in the immediate days after he went missing. Since then, police had searched the woods on foot, deployed drones to survey from the air and used sonar and dredging equipment to check three lakes near Clementon Park.

None of the efforts proved fruitful until Friday.

James spent five years as an active duty Marine, completing one-year tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Field Radio Technician. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and battles severe depression, his sister Jessica Hassan said.

"He has a big heart but he wears it on his sleeve. He will make you laugh and he is by far one of the most loyal people you will meet. When you befriend him you have a friend for life," Hassan said in December.

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