A headless body found near the Merrimack River in Lawrence was identified on Friday as a 16-year-old who has been missing since Nov. 18.

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino was identified as the victim by the state medical examiner. Viloria-Paulino was last seen on Friday, Nov. 18 at about 6 to 7 p.m., Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement.

“This is a tragic loss for his family and friends,” Blodgett said. “We are working tirelessly to determine the person or persons responsible for Mr. Viloria-Paulino’s death.”

The body was found around 2:45 Thursday afternoon by a woman walking her dog along the riverbank, authorities said. She called 911 and police recovered the head a short distance from the body.


“This is obviously shocking and disconcerting news, however, based upon our investigation, we believe it is an isolated incident," Blodgett said in statement earlier on Friday, before the body was identified.

Lawrence police alsobelievethat there is no greater threat to the community. Local authorities along with state detectives and the Essext District Attorney's office will continue to investigate the incident.

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