CASART - 2nd Activation

Onondaga County, NY 11/08/03

CASART was notified on Friday 11/07/03 by the NYSFEDSAR to activate the team for 8:00a.m. Saturday 11/08/03.  Type III searchers had been requested by NYS Forest Rangers to search for Deborah Szpak or subject a 40 year old Native American female.  She was reported to be recently unemployed without health insurance, despondent and in pain with back trouble.  The subject was reported missing in the Camillus, NY area on Wednesday November 5, 2003.  Two days of searching by Police, Forest Rangers and volunteer search and rescue teams had not succeeded in finding her, so CASART and other teams were activated on Friday evening to expand and intensify the search.

The following seven (7) CASART members reported to the Incident Command Post (IC) at the Camillus Fire Department at 8:00a.m. Saturday 11/08/03 to join the search: Bruce Knudsen, Dick Lasher, Cheryl Lougeay, Ray Lougeay, Greg O'Hara, Lawson Rutherford and Rob Winter.

Six of our team members were organized as a Type III crew and were lead by Sue our Crew Boss from the Wilderness SAR Team to search Sector T.  Sector T was located between Thompson Rd. and Clinton's Ditch, the old Erie Canal, and the area was heavily overgrown with thorn covered vines and other dense vegetation.  The thick vegetation required us to stay fairly close together and the going was slow.  We were part way into our search when around 10:00a.m. we were told to return to the IC, the subject had been found alive.  Everyone was very happy to learn the subject was alive and on the way to the hospital suffering from hypothermia, scratches and a bad back.

To find out more about the team or to get a membership application write to CASART at P.O. Box 143, Inlet, NY 13360, call us at 315-357-4381, visit our web site at, or send email to


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