Body found by hikers in Maryland forest that of New Jersey man missing since 2017, police say

- A body found by hikers earlier this year in a western Maryland forest has been identified as a New Jersey man who police say went missing in 2017.

Authorities identified the remains of the body as David Gipson Smith.

His body was discovered by hikers on February 25 in Allegany County’s Green Ridge State Forest.

Police say Smith disappeared on August 6, 2017 after traveling to Maryland from his home in New Jersey to visit a friend. When he didn’t return home by August 12, family members reported him missing.

In November 2017, FOX 5 spoke with family and friends who gathered in Woodbine, Howard County where Smith was last seen. His mother organized the three-hour bus trip from their church in New Jersey on the day that would have been her son’s 29th birthday. "He's just incredibly missed," Julie Smith, his mother, said at the vigil. She told FOX 5 that her son had struggled with substance abuse in the past but had been drug-free for a year.

Police conducted large-scale searches of the area in Woodbine but found no sign of Smith.

His cause of death has been ruled undetermined by the state medical examiner. Police ask anyone with information to contact them at 410-313-STOP or

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