Wartorn Army Veteran Under VA Care Made Facebook Video to Tell His Family Goodbye, he Loved Them, Before Killing Himself

‘Suicidal’ War Veteran Found Floating in Hackensack River Died of Drowning, Autopsy says

Police say 31-year-old former soldier had served in Afghanistan and was diagnosed with PTSD, severe depression and schizoaffective disorder at East Orange New Jersey VA; likely prescribed antipsychotics and other off label psychotropics medications through VA doctors

by Michaelangelo Conte
The Jersey Journal, Oct. 17, 2012

Drowning was the cause of death of a Jersey City war veteran found floating in the Hackensack River off Kearny on Monday, about a week after the “suicidal” 31-year-old went missing.

The body of Travis Sean Mettelholzer, 31, of Jersey City, was found near 50 Campus Drive by a warehouse worker at 9:46 a.m. Monday, Hudson County Prosecutor Guy Gregory said.

An autopsy performed at the state Regional Medical Examiner’s office in Newark resulted in a determination Mettelholzer drowned and the manner of his death was suicide, Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Gene Rubino said today.

Rubino said toxicology tests are still pending.

Last week, The Jersey Journal published a story at the request of Jersey City police seeking the public’s help in locating Mettelholzer, who police said suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome, severe depression and schizo-affective disorder.

Mettelholzer had been receiving treatment at the Veterans Administration Hospital in East Orange.

Mettelholzer, who served in Kandahar, Afghanistan and left the Army in July, was last seen at his home around 1 p.m. last Monday. He called his wife around 2 p.m. and asked her to check his Facebook.com page, which featured a video of him saying he loved his family and bidding them good-bye, police said.

He left his car keys with an employee of Foot Locker at Hudson Mall on Route 440 and asked her to contact his family so they could pick up his car, police said. A worker at the Foot Locker said yesterday that Mettelholzer had been a regular customer.

The State Police Marine Unit searched the Hackensack River last Monday.

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