A father and son have been charged with desecration of the remains of a Haddon Heights man in what authorities said was an improper burial in a remote part of the Pine Barrens.
Brandon Strater, 24, a former South Jersey resident now living in Daytona Beach, Fla., and his father, Lee, 55, of Sewell, also face charges of hindering apprehension in the 2008 disappearance of Joseph Butterworth, 29, of Haddon Heights.
The medical examiner ruled Butterworth's death a homicide pending more information, and it is under investigation, Sgt. Stephen Jones of the state police said.
It is unclear how or when Butterworth died. No homicide-related charges have been filed, police said.
Butterworth's family held a memorial service Wednesday at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Haddon Heights, the town where he lived with his parents.
"He was a good kid and I miss him," said his father, also named Joseph. "The whole family misses him."
Butterworth disappeared in July 2008 after he picked up the younger Strater from a party in Oaklyn, state police said.
About two weeks ago, a hunter found Butterworth's bones while walking through woods near Route 542 in Washington Township, Burlington County, police said.
Lee Strater was released Wednesday from the Burlington County Jail on $25,000 bail, authorities said.
Brandon Strater was arrested in Daytona Beach on Tuesday by the U.S. Marshals Service.
He is held in the Volusia County Jail and extradition is pending, police said.
Both men face up to 15 years in jail if convicted on both counts.
Brandon Strater was last seen with Butterworth on July 18, 2008, state police said.
The next day, Strater drove Butterworth's car to the woods in Washington Township and buried the body, Jones said.
When Butterworth did not come home July 20, his father began to worry but decided to wait a day before contacting authorities. On July 21, he reported his son missing, police said.
"I knew he wouldn't just take off and not call us," Joseph Butterworth said. "We were concerned."
The younger Butterworth's car was found abandoned in Mullica Township in Atlantic County, about three miles from where his body was eventually found in Washington Township, Jones said.
Strater's father played a "substantial role" in the improper burial, police said.
The hunter who found the bones on Dec. 11 took them home to Bass River Township and wondered whether they might be human.
A forensic anthropologist confirmed that they were, state police said.
"We're glad the state police did such a good job," Joseph Butterworth said.
The younger Butterworth graduated from Haddon Heights High School, his father said.
He worked with his father's security company for five to six years, he said.
Strater, who had also lived in Haddon Heights, had been interviewed in the initial missing persons case, state police said.