Keene Valley man dies in Lake Colby after hospital discharge

SARANAC LAKE — A Keene Valley man was found dead in Lake Colby by a State Police bloodhound early Sunday.

Police said the man apparently drowned after being discharged from the Adirondack Medical Center across the road.

Zachary R. Smith, 32, was discharged from the Saranac Lake hospital early Saturday evening. At approximately 10 p.m. he walked off the hospital property alone. His family reported him missing to the State Police.

State Police used the Troop B bloodhound to track Smith, and the dog located him in Lake Colby, across state Route 86 from AMC, at about 3:15 a.m. Sunday.

Police said Smith had a history of health conditions, and at this time they are not deeming his death to be suspicious.

Smith’s sister Tricia Smith Auer wrote in public Facebook posts that he had left the hospital and was trying to walk or find a ride home to Keene Valley.

“He has a Traumatic Brain Injury so it’s difficult for him to communicate,” Auer wrote. “He’s also insulin dependent (which he hasn’t had) and is Epileptic with many other health issues.”

She said in a later post that her brother had slipped off a rock.

“I love you Zachary Ryan Smith,” she wrote. “Forever and Always my Angel.”

Franklin County Coroner Ronald Keough arrived on scene and authorized removal of Smith’s body to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, where an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.


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