RAHWAY / LINDEN, NJ — The Linden and Rahway communities were heartbroken to learn on April 3 that Rahway resident Brian Gooney, a paraprofessional at Joseph E. Soehl Middle School in Linden, was found dead on the bank of the Rahway River near Essex Street in Rahway.
The teacher had been missing since March 9, prompting the Linden schools community to hold a rally on March 19 to spread word of his disappearance in the hopes that Gooney would be found more quickly, alive and well.
According to the Rahway Police Department, officers responded on April 3 to the Rahway River near Essex Street to investigate a body found on the riverbank. Rahway Police Detective Anthony Tilton positively identified the person as Brian Gooney, 55. Gooney had last been seen leaving his Main Street apartment at approximately 9 p.m. on March 9.
“Since then, officers from the Rahway Police Department and the Union County Police Department have conducted several extensive searches of the Rahway River, its banks and the surrounding areas,” the Rahway Police Department wrote in an April 3 statement. “An autopsy to determine the cause of death will be conducted by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office. This is an active investigation, and we ask that anyone with information please contact Detective Tilton at 732-827-2146, or the Rahway Police Department tips line at 732-388-1553.”
Linden Public Schools acknowledged the loss of one of their own in an April 3 Facebook post.
“We are so sorry to hear of the passing of our friend and colleague, Brian Gooney,” the district wrote. “We will miss him greatly, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family during this very difficult time.”
Rahway Mayor Raymond Giacobbe also extended his condolences.
My family and I were greatly saddened to hear this news,” Giacobbe posted to Facebook. “Our condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Gooney. Thank you to the Rahway Police Department and the Union County Police Department for your persistent and ongoing efforts in investigating this case. May Mr. Gooney rest in peace.”
Linden Mayor Derek Armstead expressed similar sentiments.
“It is with deep sadness to announce the passing of Brian Gooney, a paraprofessional at Soehl Middle School,” Armstead posted online. “On behalf of the city of Linden, we extend our deepest condolences and prayers to his family and friends.”
Gooney leaves behind two brothers and a sister, along with three nieces and a nephew.