Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Thursday, November 19, 2015

DEC Announces Search for Missing Hunter Could Extend into the Weekend

Experienced Search Volunteers Sought for the Weekend Efforts

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is requesting assistance from experienced volunteers to locate a missing 82-year-old hunter in the Adirondacks, DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

At 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 15, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received reports that Thomas E. Messick, of Troy, NY, failed to meet his hunting party at a designated location and time near Lily Pond in the town of Horicon, Warren County

"DEC's Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police, partner agencies and volunteers have searched extensively since Mr. Messick was reported missing," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "We appreciate all of the support we have received from everyone involved in this effort. If needed, we plan to expand search efforts this weekend."

Forest Rangers are requesting trained search volunteers, especially members of volunteer fire departments that have taken a basic wildlands search skills course, to report to the Horicon Fire Department early on Saturday to participate in a 7:00 a.m. briefing.

Volunteers should be self-sufficient and be prepared to spend the entire daylight period in remote settings and inclement weather. The Horicon Fire Department is located at 6589 State Route 8, Brant Lake, NY, approximately 4 miles east of Exit 25 of the Northway (I-87).

The initial search effort on Sunday of four Forest Rangers has grown to 145 individuals from 15 agencies and organizations. A helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit participated in the search for three days while weather permitted it to fly. Steep terrain, wet lowlands, thick vegetation, cold temperatures, wind, snow and rain have made search efforts on the ground difficult.

Crews have grid searched nearly 2,500 acres (4 square miles) and conducted more than 80 miles of linear search, in addition to an air search which covered many more thousands of acres.

photo of Mr. Thomas Messick

DEC wants to thank the following organizations and people for their participation in the search:

  • State Police Aviation Unit
  • State Police Special Operations Response Team
  • Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Quick Response Team
  • Warren County Sheriff's Office Emergency Response Team
  • Washington County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team
  • Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue
  • Eagle Valley Search K-9
  • Long Island Search and Rescue
  • Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks
  • Central Adirondack Search and Rescue Team
  • Northeast Mobile Search and Rescue
  • Oswego County Search and Rescue
  • Search Team 5-1
  • Horicon Fire Department
  • NYS Federation of Search and Rescue Teams - Search & Rescue Volunteers
  • Family, friends and community members volunteers

Mr. Messick is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a camouflage jacket, coveralls and a red & black plaid hat. If you have any information, please call the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-897-1300.

  • Contact for this Page
  • David Winchell
    DEC Region 5
    P.O. Box 296
    1115 NYS Route 86
    Ray Brook, NY 12977
    518-897-1200
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Adirondacks region