A man from the town of Seward who had been missing for a week was found dead Tuesday afternoon in the woods of Harpersfield.
Carl Weaver, 77, had hunted previously on the privately-owned land where his body was located. His snow-covered truck was found Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the intersection of Titus Hill Road and South Worcester Road in Delaware County.
Weaver's body was found in a brush-covered area less than 5,000 feet from the road. Officials said the path had to be cleared with chain saws to reach him.
Weaver had told a neighbor that he was going hunting Sunday, Dec. 10, and he was reported missing Dec. 12 when neighbors noticed he hadn't been home.
No suspected cause or time of death was given at a media conference at the Jefferson Fire Station on Tuesday. Officials said that there were no visible signs of struggle or mortal injury on the body, and that Weaver still had his gun.
“Really mother nature is what hampered this,” said Lt. David Pachan, supervising Department of Environmental Conservation forest ranger.
Temperatures were below freezing nearly every night that Weaver was missing. Crews had previously searched the area where he was found when it was still blanketed with snow.
A total of 737 people were involved in the search covering more than 2,000 acres. Multiple state, county and local agencies worked with volunteers under a unified command, and included New York State Forest Rangers, the Jefferson Fire Department, NYS Federation of Search and Rescue, local and volunteer fire departments and the Salvation Army.
Jefferson Fire Department Chief Bill Bivona credited the work of the forest rangers as “second to none.”
State Police sent K-9 units and searched by helicopter on Thursday and Friday. A DEC drone was also deployed to review certain areas including the length of Charlotte Creek.
“In the fire service we call it a brotherhood. I'm truly overwhelmed by the response of the community,” Bivona said, thanking fire department auxiliaries and the Salvation Army.
Terri Weaver Smullen, Weaver's cousin, described him as “a very funny man” and a loner who wasn't in contact with family members during much of his life. She met him for the first time three years ago, and the two enjoyed going out dancing at Caverns Palace in Howe Caverns.
After they met he started going to family gatherings, and he was with the family on Thanksgiving, she said. He mentioned then that he had shot one deer this season, and questioned whether he should be going hunting on his own for much longer.
Erin Jerome, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7221, or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_ErinJ .