Aharon Sofer, a 23-year-old yeshiva student from Lakewood, N.J., was buried on Friday in Beit Shemesh, a day after his body was found in the Jerusalem Forest. He had been the object a week-long search after he disappeared while hiking with a friend.
Police authorities announced that Mr. Sofer was not a victim of terrorism, but had died in an accident, Associated Press reported. “There is no suspicion of foul play,” local police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AP.
Israeli media speculated that he had fallen or died of dehydration.
Sofer’s disappearance came a month after Palestinian terrorists on the West Bank kidnapped and murdered three hitchhiking teenage yeshiva students, and a Palestinian teen was kidnapped and killed in the Jerusalem Forest in an apparent act of revenge by Jewish extremists.
Sofer’s parents, who had flown to Israel to join in a massive search through the hilly area, had offered a $28,000 reward for information leading to his return, and had posted a video on social media begging for his release.
The Israeli police and the United Hatzolah emergency response organization coordinated the search.