Man found dead inside tent in Pelham Bay Park

Man found dead inside tent in Pelham Bay Park
Eric Merchant was discovered by park rangers inside a tent on Orchard Beach Road.
Community News Group / Steven Goodstein

The recent death of a man in Pelham Bay Park, previously reported missing, has left many in Throggs Neck shocked.

Bronx resident Eric Merchant, 32, a talented illustrator, who had been missing from his mother’s home for over a month, was pronounced dead after being found inside a tent on Orchard Beach Road on Thursday, March 26.

According to reports, Merchant was last seen by his mother when he left his house on his bike on Tuesday, February 17 at 9:30 p.m.

His mother claims that after some prompting he reluctently told he was going skiing with a friend

However, when Merchant’s mother checked in with the friend to inquire about their skiing plans, his friend denied any knowledge of the plans and that he didn’t know of her son’s whereabouts.

Eric’s sudden disappearance left his family and friends concerned.

Merchant was found by park rangers unconscious and unresponsive at around 11:45 a.m.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. At the time of his discovery, Merchant’s cause of death was not officially confirmed and the investigation regarding the cause of death was ongoing.

The city’s medical examiner later confirmed that Merchant passed away after suffering from asphyxiation as a result of carbon monoxide poisioning. Merchant, who had chosen to camp out for the evening, had set up a charcoal grill heater inside the tent but miscalculated the tent’s ventilation.

“He was an amazing guy with the sweetest heart,” said Nicole Cannella after donating money on, a website that raised over $13,000 in four days from 81 people in honor of Merchant’s life.

“He always gave off such great energy making everybody smile,” said Karen Ceriani, who also contributed money to the cause. “He will surely be loved and missed forever.”

A funeral Mass was held at St. Frances de Chantal Church, 190 Hollywood Avenue, on Wednesday, April 1.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at

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