Officials focus on new search for missing sailor on Lake Michigan port – NBC Chicago

After saying they were ending a ‘comprehensive’ search for missing 21-year-old US Navy member Séamus Gray, authorities in Waukegan resumed search efforts this week and more recently focused their efforts on the waters of Lake Michigan.

Waukegan Police said officers, members of the Waukegan Fire Department, Navy Criminal Investigative Services and the United States Navy conducted an additional search for Gray Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Authorities said the Navy launched a sonar Tuesday night in Waukegan Harbor. Then on Wednesday, the Navy “deployed an underwater rover to the harbor to search the area.” While Navy divers were on standby at the scene, they ultimately did not enter the water and Gray remains missing.

At the same time, the Waukegan Police Department searched the shores of Waukegan, which they vowed to continue to monitor and search “through ground and drone operations.”

The update comes just after authorities said they were investigating a potential lead this week.

“On March 27, 2023, members of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), along with search and rescue dogs, conducted a search for Séamus Gray in Waukegan Harbor,” read an earlier mail update. electronics, adding that three search and rescue dogs showed “an interest in an area near the government pier”.

“Diver from the Waukegan Fire Department and Gurnee Fire Department searched a large area around the government pier in the harbor but did not locate Séamus,” the update continues. “Additionally, a surface swimmer searched an area around the Waukegan Yacht Club but was unable to locate Séamus.”

Last week, Waukegan Police Cmdr. Scott Chastain announced the department was ending its multi-day search for the sailor, saying, “We hit everything we could on land, in the air and along the coast.”

According to Chastain, the search spanned the Waukegan area, north of Chicago, to Naval Station Great Lakes. It included heavily forested areas, railroad tracks, beaches, areas near the lakeshore, and the lakeshore itself.

“If someone goes into the water, they don’t come right back up,” Chastain told a news conference, adding that drones, dogs, the U.S. Coast Guard and naval intelligence all had participated in the research.

Chastain also said that while the police department’s search nears completion, an investigation will continue and any new leads will determine whether or not a search will resume.

“Everybody’s a little bit discouraged that we couldn’t find it and put some sort of closure on it,” Chastain said. “If we develop other leads, we will definitely come back, if that’s what our leads lead us to. We’re not going to stop our efforts in our investigation.”

Timeline of disappearance

Authorities say Séamus Gray, a sailor stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes, was last seen around 1:35 a.m. Saturday leaving the Ibiza nightclub, located at 17 N. Genesee St. in Waukegan, about 40 miles north of Chicago.

Gray was first noticed missing when he failed to report to Naval Station Great Lakes at the scheduled time at 2 a.m. Saturday, officials said.

However, it wasn’t until 2 p.m. Tuesday that Waukegan police said they were notified of Gray’s disappearance.

“It wasn’t until days later that they uncovered information that determined he was in fact in Waukegan in the wee hours of the morning (March 18),” Waukegan Deputy Chief Brian Mullen said. in an update last Thursday.

Once Waukegan police learned of Gray’s disappearance, Mullen said they “sprung into action almost immediately” and began a search of the areas where he was last seen.

What the surveillance video shows

Newly released surveillance video outside the bar where 21-year-old Seamus Gray disappeared shows Gray just before 2 a.m. standing up and talking to a group of people. At one point in the video, Gray is seen on the ground. At another point, someone in the group appears to take Gray’s wallet out of their pocket, but then throws it back to him. Later in the video, Gray is seen taking off in a nearby alley.

Security footage from outside the Ibiza nightclub shows Gray just before 2 a.m. standing and talking to a group of people. At one point in the video, Gray is seen on the ground. At another point, someone in the group appears to grab the wallet from Gray’s pocket, but then throws it back to him.

Later in the video, Gray is seen taking off in a nearby alley.

In a press conference last Wednesday, Ibiza manager Adrian Hernandez said Gray entered the nightclub twice early on Saturday morning but was eventually escorted out for being too drunk.

Hernandez added that Gray had at least two altercations outside the bar.

“It’s just a sad situation for us,” Hernandez said. “We just want him found…we just want to cooperate in any way we can. We are doing everything we can to cooperate with the police investigation with the family.”

During last week’s update, Mullen said detectives spoke to some people who were with Gray that night. However, they said they did not see or hear from him after he left the bar.

Also during the update, authorities said they obtained additional surveillance video showing Gray at the lake the night he disappeared.

“We received other videos here at the lake from some of the marina businesses that showed Séamus just at the water’s edge,” Mullen said. “And so we focused our efforts on finding water again today.”

Mullen said Gray’s phone has shown no activity since she disappeared.

“We know he’s in great shape and hopefully he could be somewhere,” Mullen said.

“Please come forward”

The mother of missing sailor Seamus Gray spoke out Thursday morning in Waukegan to ask anyone with information about her missing son to come forward.

Gray’s mother, Kerry Rodier Gray, stood with the Waukegan Police Department last week at a press conference, pleading with the community to help find her son.

“There are three things my son lives for. He lives for his family, God and his country. He came here to fight for his country, and now he’s gone,” she said, asking anyone with information on Séamus to “please come first.”

At the press conference, Rodier Gray, who lives in Florida, said she talks to her son “no less than 10 times a day,” via text, chat, photos, Facetime or memes.

“I’m here, searching the dumpsters for my son,” Rodier Gray said.

Days later, Rodier Gray posted on Facebook saying she had returned home to Florida but would never give up on the search for the 21-year-old.

“Guttad doesn’t even begin to describe who I am,” she said. “The last eight days have been grueling, nauseating, heartbreaking and, quite honestly, heartbreaking. This boy is my heart, my world, my love of my life, along with his little brother Deck.

She also wrote a message directly to her son.

“I got you baby boy,” she said. “I will never stop looking for you. I live and breathe for you.

Gray was last seen wearing a pink long sleeve shirt and pants. Authorities say Gray is described as a white male, 6-foot-3 and weighing 170 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He has several tattoos on his left arm and a script tattoo on his ribcage.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to call Waukegan Police at 847-360-9001, or text the word WPDTIP to 847411.

Tips may also be submitted anonymously to the Waukegan Police Department.

NBC Chicago

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