Former Riverhead Town Board member and police officer Tim Buckley was found dead Thursday in South Carolina.
According to several media reports, Buckley’s remains were found Thursday morning in a wooded lot in Myrtle Beach. He had been reported missing on Sept. 30.
Buckley, 51, who grew up in Wading River, was a retired Riverhead Town police officer and a graduate of Long Island University in Greenvale. In 2005, the department named him Officer of the Year. He was elected to the town board in 2007 but resigned in March 2009 to take care of his wife, Ruth, whose health he said was declining at the time.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday that Buckley, whom he had been friends with for 16 years, would be “sorely missed” in Riverhead. The two met in 2000 when Buckley, a registered Conservative, walked up Walter’s driveway to discuss politics.
“We were instant friends,” Walter said. “He was a wonderful guy. He was one of those guys who everybody loved. I can’t think of anyone who ever had a bad thing to say about him.”
Calls to the Horry County Police Department in Conway, South Carolina, which is handling the case, were not immediately returned Friday. Riverhead police department officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
Calls to Buckley’s family at their South Carolina residence were not answered. The family set up a GoFundMe page on Oct. 20 to raise money for a reward to offer for information about Buckley’s whereabouts.
Riverhead Town Board member Jodi Giglio, a friend of Buckley’s, said the news is “devastating.”
“He was a great councilman,” she said. “My heart goes out to his wife and three girls.”
Giglio said she met Buckley at a luncheon when he was running for town board in 2007. Though she did not work with him on the board, Giglio said she was “very impressed” by him when she attended town board meetings before her own election in 2010.
“He was always there to help,” Giglio said. “He was honorable, in every aspect of his life.”
Dixon Palmer, president of the Riverhead Town Police Benevolent Association, said he was “very shocked” when he heard about Buckley’s death. He added he had known Buckley for about 10 years during Buckley’s time on the Riverhead police force.
“He was a good guy to work with, he had a good sense of humor,” Palmer said. “He will be sorely missed.”