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Gillis family looking for search volunteers

April 12, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - The family of missing teen Colin Gillis are looking for volunteers to help with searches they plan to do over the weekend.

They are looking for four leaders to help search four different wooded areas:

-On Saturday, they plan to search Massawepie Boy Scout Camp. The area is still open to the public, and all the roads and buildings have been searched. They want to do a Type II search with teams of three to six people spread out 10 to 20 yards, depending on visibility, of the edges of snowmobile trails, a main road and a carriage road.

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Colin Gillis

-Also on Saturday, they plan to search the Burntbridge Pond Trail, which begins 2 miles east of Cranberry Lake. The trail has been searched once and could be covered with a Type II search as well. There are many wet areas there, so coordinators are asking that searchers come prepared.

-A third Saturday search will cover the Peavine Swamp Trail, about 2 miles west of Cranberry Lake. Coordinators are looking to do a Type I search of this and the Balancing Brook Trail. They're looking for two to four people for this search area.

-On Sunday, they plan to search the Raquette River Corridor, walking along sections of the river from Carry Falls Reservoir to the Piercefield Dam. Coordinators plan to divide volunteers into teams to cover different sections, and they're looking for several different teams to do this at the same time so they can cover the whole river at once. They're looking for three to five people to cover a 2 to 3 mile stretch of the river. Logistics for this search are still being worked out.

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Colin Gillis is described as a white male, 6 feet, 1 inch tall, weighing about 170 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. State police said he was last seen wearing a white shirt with black stripes, blue jeans and red sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to call state police's Ray Brook dispatch at 518-897-2000.

Email Faith Bedore at as soon as possible if you're interested in being a leader of one of those groups. Volunteers will be emailed Friday evening with search instructions.

Several people have already volunteered to help with the searches on the Facebook page "Colin Gillis Search Updates," which the Gillis family and the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce are using to collect and disseminate information about the search.

Gillis, an 18-year-old pre-med student, was home for spring break from SUNY Brockport when he left a party on foot. He was last seen on the side of state Route 3 in the early morning hours of March 11 by several passing motorists.

An extensive search by state Department of Environmental Conservation crews and state police thoroughly covered the area around where Gillis was last seen and was downgraded to "limited continuous," but family members and close friends have continued a methodical search.

Gillis' father, John Gillis, wrote last week on the Facebook page that they're hoping their effort can be used as a template for other communities facing such a struggle in the future.

"Our map at the Chamber office is getting thick with lines as all of the people who have been out searching since the DEC went into 'Limited Continuous' have plotted out the routes we've taken," John Gillis wrote. "It's working well to identify areas that need more attention."

A link to donate money for the search effort can be found on the Facebook page.



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