police cruisersMiddletown – On October 9, 2016 at approximately 7:47p.m., officers from the Middletown Twp. Police Department and Park Rangers from the Monmouth County Park System responded to a report of a lost hiker, announced Det. Lt. Paul Bailey of the Middletown Twp. Police.


The hiker, Richard Donato, 38, of Middletown, had called park rangers and reported that he was lost in the woods and in need of assistance. Responding to the call was Monmouth County Park Rangers Rick Royle, Allison Petruzzo, and Ryan Rochelle. Sgt. Charles Higgins, Ptl. Chris Menendez, Ptl. Nick Haines, Class II Special Officer Daniel Flannigan, K9 officers Ptl. Brian McGrogan and his K9 Jax, and Ptl. Steve Greenwood and his K9 Koda of the Middletown Twp. Police responded to the park as well.

Also aiding in the search were the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, Leonardo First Aid Squad, and several fire companies from the Middletown Twp. Fire Department, including Navesink Hook and Ladder, Brevent, Community, and Port Monmouth, as well as the Fire Chiefs and the Field Communications Unit.

At approximately 11:26p.m., Donato was located on the Grand Tour trail by Ranger Royle. Leonardo First Aid then checked on Donato, who did not seek further medical treatment.