MANHATTAN — Investigators have found no signs of foul play in the death of a college student whose body was discovered near the Hudson River last month after he went missing in Inwood weeks earlier, authorities said.
Anthony Ureña, 23, a Lehman College student, was found fully clothed on the New Jersey side of the river on Christmas Day by the Hoboken Police Department, police said.
He had been missing for more than a month after being spotted leaving an Inwood nightclub on Nov. 14 and visiting a food truck, police said.
Ureña's body was identified through dental records on the Monday, Dec. 28, and the family was notified the following day, police said.
“There was no visible signs of trauma related to foul play,” Gene Rubino, acting chief of investigation for the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, said of the case, noting the cause of death is still pending.
Rubino, who is now handling the investigation, said several tests still need to be performed, including a toxicology report. The full findings could take several weeks to months, he explained.
Meanwhile, Ureña’s family launched a petition on Tuesday asking police to change how a missing person report is filed.
Relatives said police took their report three days after Ureña went missing, despite family members trying to file it sooner.
“The New York City Law shouldn't be able to decide which cases are more important than others,” Ureña's mother, Judith Lopez, wrote on the petition site, which had garnered nearly 2,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.
The NYPD said detectives received the report on Nov. 17, though they couldn't confirm when police first took the report.
Police said once a report is taken, officers do a brief background inquiry to determine whether a case falls into the category of a missing person.
An NYPD spokesman said the department looks at several different circumstances to determine a missing-person case. These include whether the individual is disabled to the extent where a hospital is required, whether they are younger than 17 or older than 55, or if police suspect an “involuntary disappearance,” in which the person breaks a known or familiar routine.
Police said Ureña did not fall into any of these categories.
“They just kept telling me that he was healthy and didn’t want to come home,” Lopez said previously, noting that he often went out with friends on weekend nights but always returned to the Upper West Side home he shared with his mother.
Lopez also said police told her Ureña may have decided to go away for the weekend, but she responded that he would have never taken a trip without his dog.
"'Our hands are tied' was the phrase they kept repeating every time we'd ask questions," the petition said.
Ureña's family is holding a memorial service for him on Sunday, Jan. 10, at the Ortiz Funeral Home, 4425 Broadway, from 3 to 9 p.m.