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New Jersey Family Finds Father's Missing Cell Phone Nearly 6 Years After Crash That Took His Life

MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Nearly six years after a crash took the life of a New Jersey father, family members found one of his missing items, and they say it’s renewed their faith.

Every few months, 33-year-old Glenn Slater Jr. returns to the spot in Mahwah where his beloved father, Glenn, died tragically nearly six years ago.

He swears when he’s there, he can feel his dad’s presence.

“I just stop by and just look around and talk to him. Tell him I miss him and tell him what’s going on. He was a very good father, very giving, very caring,” Slater told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon.

Slater says his entire family still struggles with the death.

The 62-year-old West Milford father of four was driving down a hill after completing a job in the mountains as a well driller in July 2015 when he crashed.

“The vehicle landed on top of him. He, um, they said it was painless, but he suffocated right there on the spot,” Slater said.

For weeks, the family desperately searched the area, trying to find any of his belongings. Using a metal detector, they were looking specifically for his phone.

“He’s got a lot of pictures on it. Maybe he was talking on the phone and that’s why he crashed, or maybe there was something on it that we needed to know,” Slater said.

The phone never turned up… until now.

Friday, during a regular catch-up with his dad, Slater looked down and something caught his eye.

“I found the phone right there and picked it up, and I just, I was amazed, just looking at it. Really amazed because we searched this area so many rimes,” he said.

For Slater, the discovery is a shock, yet also a gift.

“When I was actually here yesterday, I told him, you know, ‘I’m sorry I don’t think about you as much’ and I turned around and there’s the phone, you know, kind of saying, ‘Think about me,'” he said.

Slater says even though the chances are slim, he is going to try to recover data from the cell phone. He’s hoping the SIM card will have photos and videos of his father that the family can hold on to.

Slater says the finding has renewed the family’s faith that even when a loved one passes, they are always with you.

“A lot of times when people lose someone close, you kind of wonder where they went, if you’re going to get signs or whatnot,” he said. “You just really have to look hard for the signs and just keep believing and that stuff will pop up. They never leave, I think, they’re always there, one way or the other.”

The family hopes their story will give anyone else dealing with loss that same faith.

CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.