Photo by Stephanie Rivera.
A Long Beach man with special needs who was reported missing mid-December was positively identified by the Orange County Coroner on Monday after his body was recovered near an oil island on New Year’s Eve, authorities said.
Zachary Briley, 23, went missing from his group home, an independent living center for people with special needs, on Saturday, December 19.
According to his mother Allison Briley, he had the mental capacity of a 12- or 13-year-old and had a seizure disorder of unknown origin. His official diagnosis was mild retardation.
According to the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), he was last seen following an altercation with his neighbors at 5:00AM the morning of the 19th. Neighbors reportedly told officers that Zachary was associating himself with meth addicts and was showing increasingly erratic behavior, as if he was involved with drugs.
Long Beach detectives working on the case over the last several weeks pursued multiple leads received over the phone and from CrimeStoppers.org, regarding sightings of Zachary in the region, LBPD spokeswoman Marlene Arrona said.
“Through the course of their investigation, detectives learned the Orange County Coroner’s office had an unidentified male adult, with similar characteristics, in their care,” Arrona added.
On Monday, February 8, the coroner’s office positively identified the man and notified detectives that it was Briley.
His body was recovered on Thursday, December 31, 2015 near a platform off Oil Island Esther in Orange County, officials said. It appeared the body had been in the water for over a week.
The cause of death is undetermined, according to authorities. There is no indication of foul play at this time.
The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with information of this case is asked to call the LBPD Missing Person Detail at 562.570.7246.