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N.J.S.A. 3B:27-1

a. A resident or nonresident of this State who absents himself from the place of his last known residence for a continuous period of 5 years, during which he has not been heard from, and whose absence is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search or inquiry, is presumed to be dead. His death is presumed to have occurred at the end of the period unless there is sufficient evidence for determining that death occurred earlier.

b. A resident or nonresident of this State who is exposed to a specific event certified by the Governor as a catastrophic event that has resulted in a loss of life to persons known or unknown and whose absence following that event is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search or inquiry is presumed to be dead. The death is presumed to have occurred at the time of the catastrophic event.

c. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or abrogate the special peril doctrine under the common law.