Police search for missing Rochester man who may be in Adirondacks
The search for missing Rochester Institute of Technology student Matthew Grant continues this week, a week after he was last seen.
Grant, 22, was last seen at 10 p.m. on Nov. 20. After that, he headed east out of Rochester, leaving his phone at home. His car — a 2014 dark charcoal gray Jeep Cherokee with Michigan plate ESR8141 — was last tracked to the thruway exit in Syracuse. According to his internet history, Grant had been looking at maps of the Adirondacks and the Appalachian Trail that night.
Grant is 5 feet 8 inches tall and 149 pounds, according to his RIT wrestling profile. He was last seen wearing a dark gray-green North Face jacket.
“At this point, we really don’t have a good idea of where he is,” said Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Brendan Hurley. “The last tip was that the vehicle was seen in the Syracuse area.”
Law enforcement is currently searching the Syracuse area for Grant and his car, Hurley said. The search has not expanded into the Adirondack park and, at this time, the Sheriff’s Office has not received any information indicating that Grant is in the Adirondacks. Hurley said that they did receive a tip that Grant was in another state, but that tip was later disproved.
Jeff Wernick, a spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said that forest rangers were not involved with the search as of press time Monday. Local search and rescue teams have not been contacted either, but are on standby.
“We’re a technical search and rescue team, so we’re deployed by the DEC,” said Adirondack Mountain Rescue Team Public Information Officer John Bulmer. “We haven’t heard anything yet.”
Bulmer said that if authorities concluded that Grant was in wooded or wild land, the Adirondack Mountain Rescue Team would likely then be called out by the DEC. He said that he has told the rescue captains on the team to be prepared to be called out in the future.
“There’s a high (probability) that this could turn into a wildlands search,” Bulmer said.
If they are called out, the procedure will be similar to previous missing person cases in the Adirondacks, Bulmer said. Right now, he guessed that law enforcement are looking at license plate readers, E-ZPass scans and CCTV to pinpoint Grant’s car, which will then narrow and inform the search.
“If they find (Grant’s) car, then that will be what’s called a PLS (point last seen),” he said. “That’s what search and rescue goes on.”
From there, search and rescue teams would consider the amount of time Grant has been missing and try to calculate the distance he may have traveled from that point before developing a plan to search for him.
“They’ll go toward that terrain and they’ll search what’s called attractive nuisances,” Bulmer said.
Attractive nuisances are anything that somebody may gravitate toward if they’re lost. One of the most common attractive nuisances is power lines, which some people who are lost may follow to try to reach a roadway or town.
A search would begin with experienced search and rescue crew bosses leading a core team. If the search expands, more experienced ground searchers may be brought in to walk a grid, along with K9s.
Hurley said it’s also important to remember that, while Grant is missing, he may not be lost.
“Things like this are difficult because we don’t have anything that says he’s in danger, but the fact that he’s not where he’s supposed to be is concerning,” he said.
People with information about the whereabouts of Grant or his vehicle should call 911 or the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 585-753-4178.