EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.
The body of 15-year-old Jordin Tenk was found in a heavily wooded area of Hamburg Mountain on Monday, Oct. 28, police said. Jordin had been missing from his home in the Stockholm section of the township since Oct. 25, and was reportedly in possession of a handgun at the time of his disappearance.
Members of the search team from the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office made the discovery at approximately 12:30 p.m., according to Hardyston Police Chief Bret Alemy.
A firearm was recovered at the scene, Alemy said, and there is no known threat to the public related to the incident.
Hardyston Police was assisted in the search by the Morris County Department of Public Safety/OEM Drone Unit, Ramapo Search and Rescue, Maywood Police K9 and the Franklin Borough Police Department.
The specifics of Jordin’s death will not be provided at this time, as the matter is still under investigation, Alemy said.
Jordin was entered as a missing person into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database on Oct. 25, and township police, K-9 partners from the New Jersey State Park Police and Sussex County Office of Emergency Management and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office participated in an initial search of the area.
The missing teen was a student at Vernon Township High School.
The district was notified over the weekend that Jordin was missing.
Township Superintendent of Schools Karen D’Avino said the district stands ready to help the community grieve.
“We are providing counseling services for students and families immediately at the high school,” D’Avino said. “We are encouraging our students to grieve with their families, because it’s important to have their loved ones around them, however, we do have trained professionals at the high school that are ready to assist.”
The district is also working with the county’s Traumatic Loss Coalition to provide additional counseling and mental health services, she said.
Because of the speed of social media, D’Avino said students were aware of the tragic turn of events almost as quickly as the information was posted on Facebook by township police.
“We knew the kids knew already because social media happens so fast,” she said. “What we decided to do was immediately put teachers out in the hallways, in the areas where kids congregate, by the buses, to say to them, ‘Listen, we just heard what happened. We’re here for you.’”
In addition to Jordin’s classmates and the overall township community, D’Avino said the district will be offering whatever help it can to Jordin’s family.
“Our hearts go out to the family and we’ll be doing whatever we can to support them through what must be an unbelievable circumstance for them,” she said. “It’s so tragic.”
Driving over to the high school, D’Avino said it’s unclear at this point how things will play out.
“With the death of a student, you never know the impact that’s going to have on your community,” she said. “We’re prepared to provide the services the kids need to get through this. I don’t know what that looks like yet.”
“We knew the kids knew already because social media happens so fast. What we decided to do was immediately put teachers out in the hallways, in the areas where kids congregate, by the buses, to say to them, ‘Listen, we just heard what happened. We’re here for you.’”
Vernon Township School District Superintendent