- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - A body found by a hiker in a wooded area in Connecticut is believed to be that of a man who was reported missing in October, police said Tuesday.

Middletown police said the body was found Sunday in Wallingford and personal items at the scene belonged to Peter Recchia. The chief medical examiner’s office is trying to confirm the identity of the person and the cause of death.

Recchia’s family said he had mental health problems and disappeared in early October after walking from his home in Middletown to New Haven, more than 20 miles away. He was reported missing Oct. 3.

A Hamden police officer briefly detained Recchia on Oct. 4, after a woman reported Recchia entered her home through an unlocked door. At the time, there was no statewide missing persons alert for him.

The officer, Stephen Phipps, let Recchia go and was later suspended for 20 days without pay for mishandling the encounter, officials said.

Recchia’s family had been asking for the public’s help in finding him, through billboard ads and posters put up across the area. A $1,000 reward also had been offered.

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