20-year-old drowns in Terrace Pond

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  • Source: NJHiking.com Terrace Pond in Wawayanda State Park was where a 20-year-old man from Paterson drown Sunday.


After responding to a call that a man at Terrace Pond became distressed while swimming with a friend, police monitored and searched the pond overnight Sunday. On Monday morning, dive teams recovered the man’s body in about 20 feet of water.

The man has been identified as Memfy Deleon, 20, of Paterson and an autopsy conducted by the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was accidental drowning, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Protection, Bob Considine.

Considine said that Terrace Pond is an unguarded water body located at a remote section of Wawayanda State Park, a good 30 to 45 minute hike away from the parking lot. Swimming is prohibited at Terrace Pond.

Deleon’s body was recovered by the West Milford Police Dive Team, in conjunction with State Park Police and New Jersey State Police, at about 11 a.m. Monday. Due to the remote location of the incident, West Milford police said in a press release that the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit assisted in transporting the necessary equipment for the recovery by NorthStar helicopter.

The five-mile loop of trail around the pond is one of northern New Jersey’s most popular hikes, rated a “moderate to strenuous” hike by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. But despite swimming being prohibited, according to published reports, four swimmers have died in Terrace Pond over the past decade.

A GoFundMe online fundraising campaign has been set up to help Deleon’s parents pay for funeral expenses. In two days, $6,545 has already been raised.

According to the site, “Memfy was humble. He was a talented baseball player. Memfy attended Bergen Community college in Paramus, NJ. Memfy was a great son and caring brother.”

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West Milford, NJ