Family: Shane Montgomery's cause of death ruled accidental, funeral arrangements released

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Family members tell Action News that the medical examiner has ruled Shane Montgomery's cause of death to be accidental.

This comes a day after Montgomery's body was found in the Schuylkill River on Saturday morning - marking a tragic end to the nearly 40 day search for the missing West Chester University student.

Funeral arrangements were also released Sunday.

A viewing will be held Thursday, January 8, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Church located at 146 Rector Street in Philadelphia.

The funeral service will be held Friday, January 9, 2014 also at St. John the Baptist Church with visitation from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and a mass following at 10:00 a.m.

Montgomery was found by the Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit around 11:30 a.m. Saturday behind Manayunk Brewing Company near Main Street and Shurs Lane.

"That's why we do this - to find families' loved one ones and bring them back to them," said one of the divers.

His family and their pastor watched from the business.

"Today we have done what we have promised - we have found and we have brought Shane home," said Karen Montgomery, mother.

In the midst of embraces from family and friends, Montgomery's parents fought back tears as they thanks all those who have helped in the search.

"We want to thank everyone for their support, prayers and love and ask they continue to pray for our family at this trying time," said Karen.

A statement was posted to the Help Find Shane Montgomery Facebook page which read:

Today we have done what we promised. We found and brought Shane home. We want to thank the Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit, Philadelphia Marine Unit, Northwest Detectives, the Philadelphia Police Department, Saint John the Baptist, Mike Rose and the Brew Pub and their employees. We want to thank everyone for their support, prayers, and love and ask that they continue to pray for our family at this trying time. At this time we ask that you please respect our privacy. We need time to mourn together as a family.

Divers told Action News that Montgomery was located on the bottom of the river about 10 feet from the shore.

"Where he was, was about waist deep. In the center of the river there are some holes that are about 8-10 feet deep. For the most part it's 6-7 feet - not real deep, just moving current," one of the divers.

It's been nearly 40 days since Montgomery disappeared Thanksgiving morning after a night out with friends. He was last seen at Kildaire's Pub in Manayunk.

During the search, the people of Manayunk and Montgomery's native Roxborough put up flyers in shop windows and substituted an annual tree lighting for a candlelight vigil.

A reward grew to more than $60,000 with the help of local businesses. And his parish St. John the Baptist Church became ground zero for volunteer search and rescue operations.

The search has been exhaustive with teams of divers in the water for weeks. The FBI has also been working with Philadelphia Police.

Breaks in the case came when Montgomery's keys were found in the river right before Christmas.

Days before that, investigators discovered surveillance video of the 21-year-old walking across a bridge toward the water near Kildaire's.

Some parishioners at St. John the Baptist Church entered Saturday evening mass just learning the news.

"I thought, 'Thank God' because I've been praying every day for him that they would find him for the parents," said Beatrice Viola.

Montgomery's uncle was at the river during the discovery. He share mixed emotions after mass.

"There was that moment that you kind of hoped it wasn't Shane, that it was something else. But at the same time, he's in God's hands. He'll never feel pain, he'll never feel rain, he'll always be happy," said Kevin Verbrugghe.
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