Father, son charged with desecrating NJ man's body

EWING, N.J. (AP) - December 22, 2010

New Jersey state police announced the arrests of 24-year-old Brandon Strater of Daytona Beach and 55-year-old Lee Strater of Sewell on Wednesday.

Each man allegedly played roles in the burial of Joseph Butterworth, a 29-year-old Haddon Heights resident who was last seen in July 2008. His remains were discovered earlier this month in Wharton State Forest in Washington Township, Burlington County, after a hunter reported finding some bones.

State police say the hunter found the bones Dec. 11 and initially took them to his Bass River Township home. After further examination, the man began to wonder if they might be human, so he notified authorities.

Troopers from the state police's Tuckerton Barracks had a forensic anthropologist study the bones, and it was determined that they were human.

The hunter then led authorities to the area where he found the bones. State police detectives and state park police then excavated the site and found more remains, which were eventually identified through dental records as Butterworth.

State police say Butterworth was last seen with Brandon Slater on July 18, 2008 - though it's not yet clear how or when he died - and he was reported missing three days later. Butterworth's car was then found abandoned about three months later, in a wooded area about three miles from the site where his body was eventually found.

Brandon Strater remained Wednesday in the Volusia County Jail in Florida, pending extradition proceedings, while his father was released from the Burlington County Jail after posting $25,000 cash bail. Both men were charged Tuesday with desecrating human remains and hindering apprehension and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

A phone listing for Lee Strater could not be found Wednesday.

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