The mother of a 21-year-old U.S. Navy sailor who went missing over a week ago in Waukegan has returned home to Florida but says she remains hopeful for new developments in the search.
Kerry Rodier Gray said in a statement Sunday morning that she was back home in Florida after flying to Illinois earlier this week when her son, Seamus Gray, 21, went missing.
“Gutted doesn’t even describe what I am. I had to leave a city without my son Séamus. Without the knowledge of where Séamus’s body is,” Rodier Gray said.
“The last 8 days have been grueling, nauseating, heartbreaking and quite honestly soul crushing. This boy is my heart , my world, my love of my life along with his little brother Deck,” she said.
Rodier Gray said her son was assaulted and pickpocketed outside of Ibiza Bar on Genesee Street in Waukegan.
Surveillance video showed Gray outside the bar for several minutes around 1:35 a.m. on March 18 and at one point he can be seen on the ground with someone on top of him.
The business said that Gray had been asked to leave the establishment due to his level of intoxication and he got into “altercations” outside the bar.
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.
The footage showed Gray traveling eastward and he was later seen on video walking by himself along the edge of Lake Michigan at the Waukegan Harbor, Mullen said.
Gray is a U.S. Navy Fireman Recruit assigned to Surface Warfare Engineering School Command at Naval Station Great Lakes.
He did not report back to the base at his assigned time of 2 a.m. on March 18, Mullen said. Investigators have spoken to people who Gray was with at the bar.
“As I type this I’m trying not to throw up. I cannot sleep, and will not sleep until I have answers as to where my son is, and what happened to him,” Rodier Gray said Sunday.
She publicly thanked members of the Waukegan Police Department along with friends, family and the U.S. Navy for their support.
Rodier Gray said she has searched through “dumpsters, back alleys, back doors of buildings” for her son. “My son was an exceptional young man willing to die serving and protecting his country.”
“I hope there will be more news today in regards to Séamus… I’m holding on by a thread because I’m it. I’m his ride or die, I’m his biggest advocate, I’m his detective, I’m his search and rescue team. IM SÉAMUS’s MOM and if I didn’t do it , and I just crumbled to the floor then who else does he have to do it for him?” Rodier Gray said.
Waukegan Police Commander Scott Chastain said search crews focused on Friday on the lakefront from 10th Street and Sheridan Road 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 was called off 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 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.