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Family: Body in Detroit believed to be Hazel Park man

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Josh Gasperoni cherishes memories of his younger brother, Jacob, in the roles the Hazel Park resident filled best: devoted father and family man.

“He loved his kids more than anything in the world,” Gasperoni said. “He loved his kids and he did have a great heart. He loved his family with all of his heart.”

Now, spending more than a month wondering about his whereabouts, Jacob Gasperoni’s relatives are bracing for the worst.

Wayne County authorities are expected Tuesday to determine if dental records confirm that a badly decomposed body found in Detroit about 48 hours earlier is that of the 27-year-old, who hasn’t been seen since leaving for a bus on Eight Mile the week of Oct. 6.

“We really need closure,” Josh Gasperoni said. “I won’t have any closure until I figure out what’s going on there.”

Officers were called to a home near Charleston and Winchester around 2:30 p.m. Sunday on a report of remains of what appeared to be a white male, said Officer Jennifer Moreno, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department.

Gasperoni’s family, which sought tips online, had been canvassing abandoned homes in the area since Friday.

A passerby steered them to the body, shoeless and covered in a blanket some 5 feet from the sidewalk, Josh Gasperoni said.

Based on the clothing, including orange, gray and white socks Jacob Gasperoni’s fiancée last saw him wearing, “we’re almost positive” they found the body, his brother said.

Relatives learned Gasperoni, who has battled drug problems, allegedly fought another man in a dispute over money.

Police are continuing to investigate, Moreno said.

“The police had so many tips,” Josh Gasperoni said. “This should be one of the cases that gets solved for them … Hopefully with all the tips they can get it done.”

Relatives acknowledged Jacob Gasperoni had issues but was working as a brick mason and trying to turn his life around.

“He might have had his problems but he was a great person,” his brother said.