OLEAN — Authorities and family are continuing their search as more than a week has passed since 22-year-old Cole Geise was reported missing.
Olean Police Capt. Robert Blovsky, who is leading the investigation into the May 2 disappearance, said search efforts continue after weekend searches with dozens of volunteers and several teams of dogs were unsuccessful.
“There were three different canine hits on the same scent that led a trail down by the river,” Blovsky said, adding the New York State Police dive team and the water rescue team from the Allegany Fire Department used sonar and an underwater drone to search the river near Allegany with no success.
Blovsky reported that troopers are expected to return and conduct a wider search of the river in the coming days.
“We’ve got to go check out anything,” he said, adding the search does not indicate a change in focus from rescue to recovery. “We’re just hoping someone sees him and it’s a good sighting.”
Geise, who has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, is 6-foot-5, weighs around 215 pounds, and is believed to be wearing a grey zip-up hooded sweatshirt and pajama bottoms or jeans.
The last person to visually see Geise was a resident on Dugan Road on May 1. Family members reported hearing Geise come home that night and then leave the house May 2, but did not speak with him.
If found, police cautioned that it may be best not to approach him, suggesting that anyone who sees Geise take photographs or video, follow from a distance and contact authorities — by calling city police at 376-5677 or by calling 9-1-1 — as soon as possible.
Overall, Blovsky is pleased by the public’s support for the family.
“They’re all taking the time looking around for him, it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s amazing how many people know — it seems like everybody knows. It’s on everybody’s mind.”
Blovsky said there has been criticism aimed at the police and the family for the lack of results in the search, but he said the work to bring Geise home continues.
“We’ve been out there nonstop,” Blovsky said, adding that even when off duty he has been walking his dogs along different routes than normal just to scout for Geise. “I don’t think these people realize how much we have been out.”
In addition, rumors abound of situations ranging from running away from home to kidnapping, Blovsky said, but there is no sign of foul play — and such speculation is only making the family’s anxiety worse.
“I don’t want anything bad being put in in their minds — the silly Facebook stuff has been a problem,” he said, adding that at this point, anyone wanting to show support is encouraged to “stay positive and try to help the family out.”