Search for Missing Cornell Student Ended

Authorities have called off the search on Cayuga Lake for a missing Cornell student who was to have graduated Sunday.

Family and friends of 22 year old Christopher Dennis gathered Monday night at Taughannock State Park for a memorial service. Dennis left a campground in the town of Covert Monday to go canoing on Cayuga Lake. When he failed to return, friends began a search. While his overturned canoe was found in the middle of the lake, searchers failed to turn up any sign of Dennis.

Dennis' family called for the memorial and an end to the search. 


Seneca County Sheriff's Department News Release -


Seneca County Sheriff Jack S. Stenberg reports that the water search for missing Cornell student Christopher Dennis has been suspended.  “Today, with great sadness, after consulting with the Dennis family, we have officially suspended our water search efforts. 

Since Chris went missing on Wednesday, we have employed all available land, air and water resources in our efforts to locate him without success.  While our official search efforts have been suspended, we will maintain a presence on Cayuga Lake for the foreseeable future and track down any and all leads” said Sheriff Stenberg.

The Sheriff extends our heartfelt thank you to the Seneca County Office of Emergency Management, Cornell University Police, New York State Police, New York State Park Police, Yates, Cayuga and Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, and New York State Police Aviation Unit.  The Sheriff had high praise for the volunteer fire departments that assisted in the search efforts which include the Romulus, Seneca Falls, Union Springs, Border City, Aurora, Lansing and Skaneateles Fire Departments.  These volunteer firefighters gave up time through this holiday weekend to help out and we appreciate their efforts. 

Since Wednesday, the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office has been assisted by the Independent Search and Rescue Canine Handlers Association, the Cayuga County Highland Search and Rescue Unit, the Civil Air Patrol and East Hill Flying Club from Ithaca, New York.

The Sheriff reserved his highest praise for the student and volunteer searchers from Cornell and the community.  “ T hese volunteer searchers braved difficult weather and terrain conditions and walked the majority of the shorelines on Cayuga Lake searching for their friend and classmate. They saved us countless hours which enabled us to focus on the water search” continued the Sheriff.

The Sheriff asks residents and Cayuga Lake users to be vigilant in the coming weeks and report anything unusual by calling 911.


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