MORRISTOWN — Following hours of work on Black Lake Tuesday, the body of a young woman, pending official identification, was recovered at about 3:30 p.m. from the water, according to the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.
The multi-agency search for David R. Redmond Jr., 37, and his daughter Larissa Redmond, 13, missing since Friday, continued Tuesday morning on the lake.
Shortly before 4 p.m., Undersheriff Sean P. O’Brien confirmed the recovery of who is believed to be Miss Redmond and that Mr. Redmond is still missing. The snowmobile the pair was reportedly using Friday night has also not been found.
For the second night in a row, the search was paused after dusk Tuesday. Mr. O’Brien said the recovery team will resume the search in the morning’s light.
Search and rescue efforts began after the Ogdensburg-area pair was reported missing Sunday following a Friday night snowmobiling trip. They were last seen in the Ogdensburg area at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to the sheriff’s office.
Searchers located two helmets and identified snowmobile tracks Monday afternoon, a few hundred yards northeast of an incident command center set up at the lake’s edge off Stone Church Road. The command center deployed four air boats and divers Tuesday morning.
State police’s Underwater Recovery Team, forest rangers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and marine personnel from the Hogansburg and Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department were on scene at first light Tuesday to continue what Mr. O’Brien on Monday night called “a recovery effort.”
The sheriff’s office is coordinating with state, tribal and local partners, including fire and rescue squads from Heuvelton, Morristown, Parishville and Brier Hill.
“There’s a reason they call it Black Lake,” Mr. O’Brien said.
The largest lake in St. Lawrence County, Black Lake is matted with weeds and has a maximum depth of 40 feet, but is as shallow as 6 feet in some spots, according to the DEC. The search area, Mr. O’Brien said, is about 6 to 8 feet deep between Stone Church Road and Lost Village Road to the north.
The lake stretches about 20 miles and branches off the Oswegatchie River near Spile Bridge Road, just south of the Ogdensburg city limits. In August 2017, two fishermen were recovered from an area of the lake near this week’s search site and at roughly the same depth.
Divers initially searched the near freezing water for about 45 minutes before sunset Monday, but with the search paused for the night and with temperatures falling below freezing, new ice formed. By mid-morning, the air boats — with flat bottoms and fans for propulsion — worked through ice and actively falling snow.
Mr. O’Brien said the recovery team had reason to believe the Redmonds and their snowmobile are close to the command center as snowmobile tracks were found leading from the road to the lake’s icy surface. He said the pair — on one snowmobile — may have attempted to ride onto the lake’s surface and fell through.
Tuesday afternoon’s recovery, he said, was “in the vicinity” of the morning search area.
The strategy as of Tuesday morning, Mr. O’Brien said, was to continue to dive and use sonar technology on the air boats. Sonar technology, which omits an acoustic signal and receives an echo when something is in the signal’s path, is the team’s “best bet” under the icy conditions, he added.
Watching the air boats spit ice, water rippling out from beneath the crafts, family of the Redmonds hoped for David and Larissa, who they call “Sassy,” to be found.
“Just for some peace,” said Debra Kench, Mr. Redmond’s aunt.
Mrs. Kench and her husband Timothy Kench, along with Mr. Redmond’s godparents Sheila Redmond and Gary Barkley, smiled when they talked about Sassy, a student at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Ogdensburg. Nickname stemming from her 13-year-old spirit and boldness, Miss Redmond is called Sassy “because of her big mouth,” Mr. Barkley joked.
The family said they’ve had to shut out Facebook posts falsely claiming both good and bad news, all unsubstantiated, in the last 24 hours. As the search continues, they await more information from the recovery team.
Mrs. Kench, of Ogdensburg, said the snowmobile was new to Mr. Redmond, who “didn’t know the trails well.”
“He had a lot of issues,” Mrs. Kench said, referring to her nephew. “But no one deserves this. He’s still a human being.”