The search for Wesley “Wes” Wamsganz in the High Peaks Wilderness switched to a “limited continuous status” Sunday according to an announcement by Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) spokesman David Winchell. DEC Forest Rangers, after consultation with Wamsganz’s family, have ended the extensive ground search that began Monday, November 22, Winchell said.
Wamsganz, of Saranac Lake, hadn’t been seen since Saturday evening, November 20th when he left work at the Downtown Diner in Lake Placid. He is believed to have been spotted by hikers at Marcy Dam last Saturday evening. Between Mary Dam and Lake Colden Wamsganz’s green Carhartt jacket was found last Sunday.
Aside from the jacket, Wamsganz is believed to have been wearing only a hoodie, pants, hiking shoes and a beanie hat. Temperatures have dipped below freezing at night since he left. It’s thought Wamsganz was not carry any food, water or outdoor gear. Eight inches of fresh snow in the High Peaks on Saturday.
Sunday was the seventh day of searching by Forest Rangers, Stowe Mountain Rescue, 17 volunteers from the community and a K9 unit, without no clear clues of Wamsganz’s whereabouts. Searches were hampered by steep, rough terrain; cold wet weather, and Saturday’s snows.
More than 100 volunteers from the New York State Search & Rescue Federation and the local community that assisted rangers and various units from the State Police in the search. The Village of Lake Placid Police Department led the investigation with the cooperation and assistance of the Village of Saranac Lake Police Department, the State Police Bureau of Crime Investigations and DEC Forest Rangers.
Forest Rangers patrolling the High Peaks will continue to be alert for any signs of Wamsganz, Winchell said, as will the State Police Aviation Unit whenever missions take them into the general area of the search. Also, search and rescue training by agencies and volunteer organizations will be conducted in the area.
Lake Placid Police Department will continue its missing person investigation with assistance from the State Police BCI and DEC Forest Rangers.
Those who believe they have information on the whereabouts of Wamsganz should call the Lake Placid police at 518-523-3306 or state police at 518-897-2000.