New York State Forest Rangers were called on twice this past weekend to recover deceased bodies from Upstate New York’s backcountry.
On Friday, December 16th at 9 am, New York State Police (NYSP) requested Forest Ranger assistance in the search for Susan C. Mills, 59, of Elbridge, in western Onondaga County. Mills who was last seen leaving her home on Halfway Road around noon Monday, December 12th and was reported missing Wednesday, according to State Police.
State Police located the woman’s car and cell phone at the trailhead for Appletree Point near the Carpenter Falls Unique Area entrance off Route 41A in Niles, Cayuga County. The Bahar Preserve and Carpenter Falls area there includes about 37 acres of publicly accessible land with steep terrain and waterfalls. The land slopes into Skaneateles Lake.
State Police used K9s, a drone, and their dive team during the search. Rangers were joined by Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Lieutenant Prentice and Investigator Harger, Cayuga County Search and Rescue, Onondaga County Search and Rescue, and Owego County Search and Rescue.
Searching continued on Saturday and Sunday. Just before noon on Sunday, December 18, Rangers located Mills’ remains in a gorge and used a steep angle rope system to recover her body. Forest Rangers transferred her to a New Hope Fire Department UTV. State Police say they are continuing to investigate.
On Saturday, December 17th at 2:50 pm, Forest Ranger Stratton overheard radio traffic from Ulster County 911 requesting assistance with an unconscious subject on the Rochester Hollow Trail in Shandaken Wild Forest in the town of Shandaken. The Shandaken Wild Forest, near Belleayre Mountain, includes about 6,000 acres in the towns of Shandaken, Ulster County, and Lexington, Greene County.
The 69-year-old from Clinton Corners was hiking with two friends when he collapsed. One of the friends started CPR while the other hiker called for help. Ulster County EMS reached the subject and determined he was deceased. Rangers Allwine, Clute, and Stratton assisted the State Police with processing the scene and recovering the subject from the woods.
Photo of the recovery mission in Niles provided by DEC.