DEC continues search for missing Tupper Lake teen

Lyndon and John Gillis speak to the media March 14. Police and Forest Rangers continued their search for 18-year old Colin Gillis March 15.

Lyndon and John Gillis speak to the media March 14. Police and Forest Rangers continued their search for 18-year old Colin Gillis March 15.

— State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials, state police and local volunteers are set to expand the search for Tupper Lake teen Colin Gillis to the area around Gull Pond this weekend, the DEC announced Friday, March 16 as the search for Gillis continued for a fifth straight day without a sign of the 18-year-old.

Volunteers are asked to arrive at the Town of Piercefield Highway Garage beginning around 8 a.m. Saturday, March 17.

Today, volunteers and forest rangers continued to comb the area around Route 3. State Police and Tupper Lake Fire Volunteer Department Dive Teams searched the waters of Piercefield Flow, and DEC staff searched the Raquette River.

On March 15, Regional Forest Ranger Capt. John Streiff said the search parties consisted of 120 volunteers, 25 Rangers, a DEC airboat, and 25 New York state personnel, including an Aviation unit with a helicopter, dive teams and K-9 units brought in from Syracuse.

“For the most part we’ve concluded our land based search in the mile radius from Collins’ last known point,” Streiff said. “We’re becoming more and more technical as far as aviation support flyovers and we’re now expecting help from Fort Drum as far as helicopters to help fly over the Raquette River and support from State Police Aviation. We continue to utilize state police under-water cameras and divers in certain sections of the river, but it has not led to any leads at this point.”

Investigators are looking into allegations that Gillis may have been involved in an altercation at the party where he was last seen.

“We’re taking different investigative steps and one of the things were trying to do is construct a time line of events from that night,” State Police Capt. John Tibbits said. “The folks that were at the party have been very cooperative and a lot of instances they have given us a lot of leads that we have followed up on.”

Police will be re-interviewing members of the party Gillis attended and trying to put together a timeline of what happened at the party, when and if he left to meet someone after the party. Police are using evidence collected through Gillis’ cell phone.

Tibbits said the police will not be ruling anything out at this point in the investigation, in the same way searchers won’t rule out areas on the ground search.

“We’re not running out of options but we are narrowing down what our options are,” he said.

(Katherine Clark contributed to this story.)

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