The remains of a Trenton man may have been found in a deep ravine on the tiny Caribbean island where he was last seen.

Joel D. Gove, 47, disappeared Dec. 28 while hiking alone across the Dutch-owned isle of Saba, about 175 miles east of Puerto Rico.

Gove's former wife, Amy Gonzalez, is leading the effort to recover his body.

Seven dogs, all trained to find human remains, arrived Jan. 21 on the five-square-mile island, Gonzalez said yesterday. The dogs were accompanied by six handlers, a veterinarian, two detectives and a ground positioning specialist.

Previous searches by Saban authorities had come up empty.

But during the five days that the dogs scoured every footpath, they all reacted strongly when led to a ravine near the Too Far trail where Gove was last spotted.

The volcanic island's lush and rugged landscape has hampered attempts to climb down the ravine.

Because island police have said that Gove is the first person to ever go missing on the island, Gonzalez said she was sure the remains were those of her ex-husband.

"There's a 99.9 percent chance there are human remains in that ravine," Gonzalez said. "Unfortunately, it's very steep and deep and we haven't been able to send anyone down to search for him."

Gonzalez hired a helicopter to go deeper into the gorge, but the vegetation was too dense to see anything, she said.

Later today, several volunteers from the island are expected to rappel into the ravine to continue the search.

So far, the private search effort has cost about $50,000. Gonzalez said she expected to spend at least $25,000 more to bring her former husband home.

A benefit concert, featuring pianist Steve LaManna, is scheduled Feb. 8 at Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park, home of the Trenton City Museum. Tickets are $50.

Gonzalez hopes to share some of the proceeds with the Saban groups that have spent thousand of man-hours assisting in the searches.

Gove, an environmental consultant who owned Habitat Management & Design Inc., arrived on Saba alone on Christmas Day and rented a private villa for a week.

Housekeeping staff found his passport and other belongings in the house after he was supposed to have left.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 856-779-3838 or at