Crews comb waterways in search for missing NY teen
After five days of searching, the mother of 18-year-old Colin Gillis made an emotional plea.
"Colin if you are out there honey, you are not in any trouble," Patricia Gillis said. "We want you to call us. We want to make sure you are OK. We just want you to come home safe and sound."
Colin Gillis has not been seen since leaving a friend's house early Sunday morning.
"It was out of the ordinary, he didn't have a coat on," Richard Rosentreter said. "(The temperature) was in the teens."
The editor of the Lake Placid News is one of three people who reported seeing Gillis walking along Route 3 near the county line at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Even though the person did not appear to be in distress, Rosentreter stopped at a nearby police station to report what he had seen. By the time troopers arrived 15 minutes later, there was no sign of Gillis.
"I was with my mom, who is a senior. So to me it was an unsafe situation for me to stop," Rosentreter said.
As the search continues for Colin Gillis, investigators are scaling back land searches and are focusing on the bodies of water near where the teenager was last seen.
"It's very tough, the water is very tanning due to the vegetation and the visibility is only a few feet," said Glen Bronson of the N.Y. Environmental Conservation Dept.
Four days of extensive grid searching covering 10 miles turned up just two personal items belonging to Colin. So authorities are now investigating the theory the college freshman may have fallen into the water.
"The water searches are going to continue indefinitely," said Scott VanLaer of the N.Y. Environmental Conservation Dept.
Crews are combing the shorelines and waters of Raquette Pond, Piercefield Flow and the Raquette River. It's a tricky and slow task that includes melting ice, dams and rapids that stretch more than 10 miles.
"Because the water is obviously dynamic that situation will change day to day," VanLaer said. "It's also harder to document. Somebody in a kayak can't just download a GPS coordinate and map that as easily as the grid searching; it's a documentation process and a very technical skill that we can't use as many volunteers."
"The tireless efforts of the DEC and New York State Police have been incredible to watch," said John Gillis, Colin's father. "We can't thank these guys enough for their professionalism and their compassion."
A family remaining optimistic their son and brother will be found alive.
The search will continue Friday. Investigators say they will no longer need the assistance of volunteers because the missions will be too dangerous.
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