LAWRENCE (CBS) – A decapitated body was found near the Merrimack River in Lawrence Thursday afternoon.

Police say they were called to the riverbank near McCabe Court at about 2:45 p.m. after a woman walking her dog reported the discovery.

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“We believe this is an isolated incident, and that the community is safe,” Lawrence Police Chief James X. Fitzpatrick said.

The body has not yet been identified. But, friends and family of Lee Manuel Paulino, 16, are afraid it is him. The teen disappeared in mid-November.

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“Everything going through mind I am so scared, nervous, I can’t eat, I can’t focus,” said Carmin Checo, a family friend.

The family posted flyers and made pleas on Facebook for his return. A small crowd gathered near the crime scene. They hugged and cried.

His father said, “I am hoping for the best. I hope it’s not him.”

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WBZ-TV’s Katie Brace contributed to this report.