Local residents are remembering two men from the area whose bodies were found floating in Weehawken Cove on Tuesday, April 4.
According to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, on that date at 8 a.m., the Hoboken and Weehawken police departments responded to a 911 call regarding a floating body in the cove. Shortly after their arrival, the Weehawken Police Department noticed a second body floating nearby.
Officials later identified the men as Ali Harb, 41, from West New York, and Juan Bustamonte, 35, from Union City. Both were later pronounced dead the same day.
Friends said that both men attended school in West New York together and were friends.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said that the deaths “do not appear to be suspicious and there should be no concern to the public.”
But officials did not say how the two men would have both ended up dead in the same area.
A day after their bodies were found, friends and relatives held a vigil honoring them in Union City. At the vigil, held in a Bank of America parking lot on Bergenline Avenue, one sign, dedicated to Ali apparently from family, said, “We miss you already. Always thinking of you forever. Love mom and Khalto Nassima.”
"He was always visible, and he would talk to anybody who was there, and everyone knew him.” -- Frank Arostegui
"He was always visible, and he would talk to anybody who was there, and everyone knew him," Arostegui also told the publication. "I think that corner of Bergenline will never be the same without him."
Bustamonte reportedly also graduated from Memorial High School before moving to Union City. Vigil attendees said he was a quiet individual with an unforgettable laugh.
Harb’s funeral was held April 7 in Paterson.
A GoFundMe to fund Harb’s funeral expenses earned $23,630 in the first week. On the page, numerous friends left messages honoring Harb.
“Mohammed, Moses, Harb Family. My condolences for the loss of your loved one. My prayers go out to all of you. R.I.P. Ali. Always be missed. PS1, MHS,” read a comment from Richard Gavilanes, who donated to the cause.
“Rest In Peace my friend. I will never forget the memories and the laughs we had together. I'm so sorry Mo and the entire family. My heart and prayers are with you. God bless you,” read another, from Vivian Calunga.
From Jason Acosta, “Rest In Peace my friend! We will truly miss you. It was an honor to have known you for over 30 years! Sending my condolences to your family from the west coast!”
When asked last week how the men ended up in the river, Raymond Worrall, a spokesman for the Hudson County prosecutor, said, “That part is under investigation as well. I’m not sure if we’re going to find that out. The circumstances surrounding it are still under investigation.”
Worrall also said he spoke with the county’s Homicide Unit April 10, but they have yet to report any new information.
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org