Questions surround death of college basketball player found at Hopewell nature preserve

There are still many unanswered questions about how a 20-year-old college student wound up dead at a Mercer County nature preserve.

News 12 Staff

Dec 20, 2022, 10:59 PM

Updated 581 days ago

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There are still many unanswered questions about how a 20-year-old college student wound up dead at a Mercer County nature preserve.
Phil Urban, 20, was found at the Hopewell Valley Nature Preserve this past weekend. He was apparently shot to death, according to officials. He was found in a rural area that is mostly used by hikers and hunters.
Urban was from Manalapan. He was a freshman at Post University in Connecticut, where he was a member of the basketball team.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office says Urban was found in a white Mercedes C300 slumped over the driver's seat. He was shot. The car had come to rest against a tree where some of its bark was broken off, according to officials.
Authorities say that Urban was meeting an acquaintance and was shot during the encounter. It was not clear who that acquaintance was or why they were meeting in the nature preserve.
The Post University basketball team was playing Florida Southern in Florida at the time of Urban’s death. A school spokesperson tells News 12 that the team is large and that Urban had not been chosen to travel, so he was home on break.
There is a page on the school’s website now dedicated to Urban.
"Phil was well-liked by everyone in the Post community. His quiet sense of humor was infectious and was a valuable part of our basketball program,” Coach Mark Kuntz wrote in a statement.
Urban did have a connection to the area of Mercer County where he was found. He attended high school at the Pennington School about 4 miles away from the nature preserve.
Investigators are asking anyone who may have been in the area of the nature preserve or anyone who might have information about Urban’s death to come forward by calling 609-989-6406.


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