Some tragic news to report today, as a local man has been identified as the person who died as the result of a fall while he was hiking this past Sunday (April 4) in New Milford.

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According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), 39-year-old João Paulo Lucas of Danbury had been enjoying Easter Sunday with his family while hiking at Lovers Leap State Park in New Milford.

Officials say that at some point around 3:45 PM that afternoon, Lucas had been separated from his family as he was headed down a secluded section of the park that overlooks Lake Lillinonah, and that was when he was reportedly last seen.

By around 6:15 PM that evening, Lucas' family filed a report with CT DEEP, explaining the situation, prompting a search of the area with assistance from local agencies such as the DEEP Conservation Police, the New Milford Police Department, the Water Witch Hose Company, and Newtown Underwater Search & Rescue. According to the report, Lucas' body was location in Lake Lillinonah late Sunday night.

A GoFundMe page has been organized by the wife, family and friends of João Paulo Lucas, who wrote in Portuguese that the Danbury man "has always been very cheerful, friendly, kind and with a giant heart," and that the tragic accident has left "his wife, children and family members devastated."

The donations collected via the GoFundMe fundraiser with help with both Lucas' cremation and the transfer of the Danbury family man to Brazil for a proper farewell ceremony.

Our thoughts are with Lucas' family and loved ones as they navigate this difficult time.

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