Ray Josephs’ bond with his brother, Danny Burroughs, went beyond just any normal sibling relationship.
“As close as two brothers/best friends could ever hope to be,” said Josephs. “That’s what my brother and I shared.”
It was that bond that amplified the pain Josephs felt six years ago when Burroughs went missing. His brother was last seen on his riding lawnmower on August 14, 2007, at the home he shared with his then-wife Loretta Burroughs, in Hamilton Township.
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Friday morning however, Danny Burroughs’ remains were found in two containers in Loretta’s home in Ventnor, New Jersey, according to a source close to the investigation. Loretta was charged with his murder.
“Trying to cope with this horrific outcome,” said Josephs. “Within myself I am indeed fighting my best fight.”
Burroughs, 61, wept quietly Friday afternoon as she was formally charged with her ex-husband's murder. Investigators say she stabbed her husband to death in 2007. Autopsy results are pending.
Loretta divorced Danny shortly after he disappeared. She then sold the couple's home. Loretta moved, more than once, according to the Burroughs family, and was living at the home on Hampshire Drive in Ventnor where the body parts were found.
Crime scene investigators went to the home Friday morning around 6 or 7 a.m., according to neighbors. It turns out however that police were actually looking for documents connected to an embezzlement case and stumbled on Burroughs' remains.
"From what I understand, they were there to look for some bank records for embezzlement," said Danny's daughter, Caroline Burroughs. "They weren't there looking for my father. They just stumbled upon him."
Investigators are not clear if Burroughs' remains were put into containers due to decomposition, or if the body was mutilated. They do believe that the body was moved several times. And detectives say Loretta Burroughs was in the process of selling her Ventnor home and relocating to another home in Villas, Cape May County.
Danny Burroughs' family convinced investigators to re-open the case in February, after the county put together a Cold Case Unit. The family launched a Find Danny Burroughs Facebook page in 2010, and used the page to raise questions about Danny's disappearance. In the "about" section of the page, Josephs wrote:
Out of nowhere his (now) x-wife told everybody he "ran off with another woman", he left without ANY of his belongings-NOTHING! I say BS to her story and MANY-MANY lies! She, never even called to tell me (my brother) Dan supposedly "up and left." I found out several days later when I called my brothers home to see how he was feeling >for me, this is when the nightmare began.
"We knew for years that she knew something and we just couldn't get the help from anybody to find him," said Robert Valiante, Jr., a family friend.
Burroughs' family kept pushing police to go past Loretta Burrough's claim that Dan had run off to Florida with another woman.
"That's why they could never question her or prosecute her because there was no body," Valiante said. "There were no remains. Well, I guess not because she had 'em! Without a body he would have been lost forever."
With both sadness and a new sense of closure, Josephs thanked everyone who supported his family on his Facebook page.
“Even though my face always seems wet from tears, all of your support has indeed helped, and to me been a blessing,” he said. “I thank you all, those that knew my brother or, just wanted to show support…you people really are amazing.”