CASART - 22nd Activation

Hamilton County, NY 10/17-20/08 & 10/25-26/08

CASART was activated for a search and rescue operation in the vicinity of Indian Lake in Hamilton County on Sunday 10/16/08 by the NYSFEDSAR.  A 71 year old man, Fred Gillingham or subject was last seen on Sunday 10/12/08 at a hardware store in Indian Lake.  He was reported missing on Wednesday 10/15/08 when a friend went to check on him at his camp near Indian Lake because he had failed to show up for a dinner engagement the previous night.  The TV had been left on in his seasonal camp and he was scheduled to fly back to his home Camarillo, CA on Wednesday 10/15/08.   His rental car was found by State Police parked at the Rock River trail head Wednesday evening and Forest Rangers started the search that evening and continued searching on Thursday 10/16/08. Temperatures were in the 40s and 60s throughout the eleven (11) day search.  The Incident Command Post (ICP) was set up at the DEC Headquarters in Indian Lake and the Indian Lake Fire Station was used as the assembly point on Rt. 28.

Twelve (12) CASART members reported to the ICP at 7:00a.m on Friday 10/17/08, Tina Bradt, Ellie Connick, Ron Dearlove, Deb Evans, Deb Jones, Bruce Knudson, Nancy Langham, Greg O’Hara, Mike Romanych, Charles Taylor, Dawn Timm and Eileen Tobin. Crews were formed to conduct Type II and Type III searches, were run all day and no clues were uncovered.

The search continued on Saturday 10/18/08 at 7:30am with Three (3) CASART members, Russ DeFonse, Bruce Knudsen and Charles Taylor reported to search.  Type III searches were run with no clues uncovered.

The search continued on Sunday 10/19/08 at 7:30am with Eleven (11) CASART members, Ellie Connick, Russ DeFonce, Deb Evans, Joe Gelsomino, Bruce Knudsen, Greg O’Hara, Roy Reehil, Dawn Timm, Eileen Tobin, Linda Valette and Bob Wheeler reported to search.  Type III searches were run with no clues uncovered.

The search continued on Monday 10/20/08 at 7:30am with Three (3) CASART members, Ron Dearlove, Bruce Knudsen and Nancy Langham reported to search.  Type III searches were run with no clues uncovered.

The search was suspended for volunteers from 10/21/08 through 10/24/08, but was reactivated on Saturday 10/25/08.  Eight (8) CASART members Paul Beaudoin, Deb Evans, Joe Gelsomino, Mary Jane Lasher, Greg O’Hara, Mike Romanych, Chuck Taylor and Eileen Tobin reported to search.  The weather turned nasty with heavy rain and cooler temperatures. 

The search continued on Sunday 10/26/08 at 7:30am with One (1) CASART member, Eileen Tobin reporting to search.  No clues were found, no new leads were uncovered, the subject was not found and the search was suspended unresolved.

The terrain went from gentle with rolling hills to rugged and had a mix of beaver meadows with standing water, open hardwoods and dense cedar swamps.

A hunter discovered the body of the subject on Monday 11/17/08 in a grassy area in the vicinity of First Lake in the Essex Chain of Lakes north of the Rock River outside the primary search area.  The subject had crossed the Rock River, contrary to expectations of behavior for a day hiker. 

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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