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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The search for a New Jersey man — who went missing on a trip to New Orleans — has ended with the discovery of his body. But the story of what happened remains a mystery.

The family of Michael Gelfan reported him missing in January and a search team traveled to New Orleans from New Jersey to find him.

On Friday, March 18 around sunset, the Harbor Police reported that a body had been found in the Mississippi River. Now, with the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office identification, we know the body was that of 33-year-old Michael Gelfand of Jackson, New Jersey. But, detectives are still working to find out where he had been for the last two months.

In January, Gelfand told his family that he was at the Magnolia Hotel on Gravier Street for an overnight business trip. After searching for days, the man’s family learned he spent several days buying groceries and going to bars.

On January 14th, WGNO’s Susan Roesgen spoke to detectives in an exclusive interview:

Roesgen: What if he doesn’t want to be found?

Nathan Ginsbery, Search Team Spokesperson: We know he wants to be found. The community wants him back, and Michael wants to be back.

The search team handed out flyers and pored over maps of the city. Initially, they wanted publicity to help them find Gelfand, but after a couple of weeks, his family asked for privacy during the search.

Local Rabbi Mendy Schecter accompanied Gelfand’s body back to New Jersey this week for the funeral. The NOPD tells WGNO that investigators are waiting for the autopsy results to determine how he died.

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