Emergency crews have called off Friday’s land and water search with no results so far in the hunt for a 21-year-old U.S. Navy member who went missing in Waukegan.
Waukegan Police Commander Scott Chastain said crews resumed the search at 9 a.m. Friday for Seamus Gray, 21.
Friday’s search focused on the lakefront from 10th Street and Sheridan Road all the way to Naval Station Great Lakes.
Chastain said investigators search heavily wooded areas, the beach, along the coast of the water and Lake Michigan itself.
The Waukegan Police Department, North Chicago Police Department, North Chicago Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and over 100 members of the U.S. Navy assisted in Friday’s search, which ended in the afternoon.
“We’ve hit everything we could on the ground. We had drones in the air. We had a canine out. We had a boat in the water. We’ve searched every area we could search at this time,” Chastain said during a press briefing.
When asked about morale among search crews, Chastain said everyone is a “little downhearted” that they have not been able to find Gray.
“We’re not going to stop our efforts and our investigation, our investigation is definitely going to continue. If we develop any other leads, we definitely will be coming back out, if that’s what our leads take us to,” Chastain said.
Should someone go into Lake Michigan, their body is not likely to come up for a while due to the cold temperatures and cold water, Chastain explained.
“If he is in the water and that is what happened, it may be days or weeks before the body would come back up,” Chastain said.
Gray left Ibiza Bar, located at 17 North Genesee Street in Waukegan, around 1:35 a.m. Saturday.
The bar said that Gray had been asked to leave the establishment due to his level of intoxication.
He was seen on video by himself minutes later at the intersection of Sheridan Road and Washington Street in Waukegan, according to Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Brian Mullen.
Kerry Rodier Gray, the mother of the man, said during a press conference Thursday that her son “lives for his family, he lives for God and he lives for his country.”
Gray is a U.S. Navy Fireman Recruit assigned to Surface Warfare Engineering School Command at Naval Station Great Lakes.
Gray did not report back to the base at his assigned time of 2 a.m. Saturday, Mullen said. Investigators have spoken to people who Gray was with at the bar.
“He came here to fight for his country and now he is missing. I’d like everyone’s help to find my son,” Rodier Gray said.
Rodier Gray, who lives in Florida but came to Illinois after her son went missing, begged anyone with information to come forward.
She said her son “is her life.” She had talked to him just before he went missing.
Gray had planned to play online video games with his brother when he got home that night, Rodier Gray said.
Mullen said the police department was first notified that Gray was missing around 2 p.m. Tuesday, which is more than three days after he went missing.
The Waukegan Police Department Criminal Investigations Division recovered video surveillance footage from the bar and other places, including from the lakefront.
The footage showed Gray traveling eastward and he was later seen walking by himself along the edge of Lake Michigan at the Waukegan Harbor, Mullen said.
The Waukegan Fire Department and Waukegan Police Department, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and other fire departments, searched the Waukegan Harbor area, including in Lake Michigan, earlier this week.
Investigators had been utilizing cell phone data in their attempt to search for Gray but activity is no longer being received from the phone.
“We know he is in excellent shape and we are very hopeful. Maybe he could be out there someplace,” Mullen told reporters Thursday.
The Navy said they are aware of Gray’s disappearance and the Great Lakes Naval Criminal Investigative Service office is assisting with the investigation.
“The Navy will continue to work with all law enforcement agencies involved in the case. Our thoughts are with Fireman Recruit Gray’s family during this difficult time,” the naval station said in a statement.
Gray was last seen wearing a light pink or red long-sleeve shirt and pants. He has multiple tattoos on his left arm and a script tattoo on his ribcage.
Anyone with information on Gray’s disappearance is asked to contact the Waukegan Police Department tip line at 847-360-9001. Tips can also be texted to 847411 by writing WPDTIP followed by the message.