May 7, 2012

03/11/12: Colin Gillis, 18, Tupper Lake, NY

Colin Gillis
Missing since 3/11/12
Tupper Lake, NY
Colin Gillis is missing.

Colin Gillis, 18, a pre-med student at SUNY Brockport, had been visiting his hometown of Tupper Lake in northern New York over spring break. He was excited to go out and see his old high school friends at a party at a private residence on Paskungameh Road.

"He was all pumped up about seeing his friends," his father, John, told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

"We were just kind of laughing and having a good time, like usual with Colin," he said. "He was in a great mood - like I said, very excited to see his friends."

Colin reportedly left the party on foot in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 11, 2012, heading along a desolate stretch of State Route 3.
A passerby, concerned to see the young man walking alone so late at night without a coat, drove to the police station in Tupper Lake, two miles away. Officers arrived on scene of the sighting about ten minutes later, but Colin Gillis was nowhere to be found.

The witness who had reported seeing Colon said the college student had been walking near a stretch of Adirondack forest, heading in the direction of Piercefield, NY. According to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:
Lake Placid News Editor Rich Rosentreter reported seeing a young man in the road on state Route 3 at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday as he was heading back from Massena to Tupper Lake with his mother, who lives in Tupper Lake.

Rosentreter said the young man was walking against traffic close to the white line on the side of the road and flailing his arms. At first it looked like the man was hitchhiking, but then it looked like he wasn't.

He wasn't wearing a jacket, only a long-sleeved shirt, and the temperature was in the teens, Rosentreter said. Rosentreter said state police went to look for the man after he reported the incident to them at the Tupper Lake village police station, but to no avail.
Some of Colin's belongings, including his ID card, were later recovered by the authorities along Route 3, but there has been no sign of the missing college student.

According to media reports, the police have been unable to rule out foul play in the disappearance. No evidence has been found to suggest that Colin was hit by a car or that he tried to walk across the frozen Raquette River.

State police are looking into a skirmish that occurred the night of the party, but details of the incident have not been released.

Colin's phone was last used at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 11, the morning he disappeared.

Anyone with information regarding the case should contact state police at (518) 897-2000.

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The Search for Colin Gillis

More than 200 volunteers came out to comb the Adirondacks woods for Gillis on March 13.

The following day, Capt. John Streiff, a state forest ranger, told 7 News at Noon that the focus of the search was shifting from the 2,000 acres of dense woods to in and around the Raquette River and both Raquette Pond and Piercefield Flow. Conditions during the search varied from bare ground to knee-deep snow.

According to an update by the Watertown Times, as of March 21, 2012, police had "interviewed about 30 people from the party on Paskungameh Road, and have begun reinterviewing. Troopers also put a checkpoint together Saturday night to stop drivers who may have seen Mr. Gillis the week before at that same time."
In March 2013, New York State Police Capt. John Tibbits told that the investigation was "Far and away probably the biggest search this area has ever seen." (March 13, 2013). The paper went on to report:

Capt. Tibbits said they do not believe Gillis is in the area. "I feel reasonably confident -- could we have missed Colin some place in the woods? It's a possibility. I don't think it's likely," he said, adding that the area has been gone over with "a fine tooth comb."
Reporter Matt Henson: Where do you think he is then?

Capt. John Tibbits: That's the million dollar question.

As the family and community wonder what happened to Gillis, investigators said they are stumped as well. But they are far from giving up. Several investigators still work the case daily. Tips still come in regularly and troopers and forest rangers still search on foot, by air and in the water.

Matt Henson: Do you suspect foul play at this point?

Capt. John Tibbits: We haven't taken anything off the table at this point. The missing persons investigation goes in conjunction with a possible investigation into some sort of foul play -- those are parallel  investigations. Whereas the ground search as the missing persons case has tailed off, that criminal investigation -- that maybe something bad did happen -- continues.

The Gillis family said it remains positive that they will one day find the piece of the puzzle that will help explain what happened to the 18-year-old. "You have to have closure at some point in time. That would be a wonderful benefit for the family and community at large," Rob Gillis said.

Serial killer Israel Keyes owned property in northern Franklin County and robbed a bank in Tupper Lake in 2009. But authorities say that based on a travel log compiled by the FBI, it appears Keyes was not in the area around the time Colin Gillis went missing.

The reward being offered by the Gillis family for information leading to a closure in the case has been increased from $10,000 to $25,000.

Colin Gillis is 6'1", 170 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a white shirt with black stripes, blue jeans and red sneakers.

Anyone with information regarding the case should contact state police at (518) 897-2000.

Case Details
Name/age: Colin Gillis, 18
Hometown: Tupper Lake, NY
College: SUNY Brockport
Last seen: 03/10/12 at a party on Paskungameh Road in Tupper Lake, NY; then walking on Route 3 headed toward Piercefield, NY
Physical Description: 6'1", 170 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes
Last seen wearing: White shirt with black stripes, blue jeans and red sneakers.
Investigating Agency: Ray Brook State Police (518) 897-1300


Collier, Jessica. (2012, March 12). Search forms for Tupper Lake teen. Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Retrieved May 7, 2012 from:

Gore, Josh. (2012, March 21). Search for Tupper Lake teen scaled down; police investigating a skirmish. Watertown Times. Retrieved May 7, 2012 from:

WHEC Staff. (2012, March 13). Hundreds search for Colin Gillis, missing SUNY Brockport student. Retrieved May 7, 2012 from:

YNN Staff. (2012, March 12). Search Continues for Missing SUNY Brockport Student. YNN Rochester. Retrieved May 7, 2012 from:

WCAX News. (2012, March 10). Search continues for Gillis. WCAX News. Retrieved November 12, 2013 from:


tennessee111 said...

according to my source Israel keyes is suspected of being involved with his disappearance. do not know if it is true

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