LAKE PLACID - Seth A. Kilburn, who had been missing since early Sunday morning, has apparently been found dead on a neighborhood pathway between the bar where he was last seen and his home.
Village police Chief Bill Moore said a body believed to be that of the 34-year-old Lake Placid father of two was found by members of the Essex County Sheriff's Department at about 10:04 a.m. Friday near a residence on McKinley Street. Police were working to confirm the identity Friday afternoon.
"The manner of death is undetermined at this time," Moore said during a press conference at the Lake Placid firehouse. "Currently, we're having an autopsy done on him, and we should know more in the upcoming days."
An autopsy was scheduled to be performed by Dr. C. Francis Varga Friday afternoon at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Kilburn was reported missing at about 12:30 a.m. Monday. He was last seen leaving Wiseguys bar on School Street, not far from where his body was found, between 12:30 and 1 a.m. Sunday.
Moore said the body was found near the edge of the woods outside of a house at 77 McKinley Street.
"This morning we decided to re-evaluate our situation, and we decided to do a door-to-door search for Mr. Kilburn because there's a lot of neighbors in that area in particular that are maybe older people and weren't able to go out and search their yards thoroughly," he said. "So we broke into nine teams this morning, with a police officer from all of the agencies represented here knocking on doors with volunteers with them, asking if it was OK if we searched your yard, and through those efforts we were able to locate Mr. Kilburn."
The body was "basically in plain sight," Moore said, but it wasn't visible from the air or from the roadway.
Moore said an investigation into Kilburn's death is ongoing, but at this point there are no signs of a struggle or foul play.
The property where he was found is less than a quarter of a mile away from Wiseguys and between 600 and 900 feet from Kilburn's parents' home on Mill Pond Drive, where he had been living.
Moore said Kilburn may have been on his way home when an accident occurred.
"It appears that that might have been the case," he said. "There's a path there that I'm sure Mr. Kilburn knew about from going to school here, working at the (Olympic) arena previously, and he may have gotten off the path in an unlighted area."
The path starts near School Street and ends at McKinley Street. Moore said it has steep drop-offs.
"I think Mr. Kilburn got off his path slightly, and we believe the cause of death to be accidental," he said. "Nothing else is ruled out at this time, but preliminary investigation has shown that."
The people who live at the residence near where Kilburn was found were shaken up, the chief said.
Joan Grady is a close friend of the Kilburns and has been acting as a spokesperson for the family.
"The family would like to thank the community, the Lake Placid Police Department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation for all of their assistance this week," Grady said. "At this time, the family is requesting privacy."
Moore said he spoke on behalf of the entire community when he offered his condolences to the Kilburn family.
"It's a terrible tragedy for them right now, and our thoughts and prayers are with them," he said.
Moore said many resources went into the five-day search for Kilburn. He thanked the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, New York State Police, state Department of Environmental Conservation officers and forest rangers, the sheriff's department, the Saranac Lake Police Department, and members of the Jay, AuSable Forks, Keene, Saranac Lake and Wilmington fire and rescue departments. Champlain Valley Search and Rescue also assisted in the search. Forest Ranger Capt. John Streiff said between 50 and 60 people were involved in each day of the search.
The chief also thanked members of the Lake Placid community who helped with ground searches and provided food and water for volunteers.