UPDATE: Sunday, Nov. 13: An autopsy confirms that the body found Saturday is that of Ray Gregory.
His cause of death is listed as exposure to the elements; hypothermia.
Earlier coverage from Saturday, Nov. 12:
OSWEGO, NY – “Yeah, it’s him. We know. We just got the word a little while ago,” Ray Gregory’s best friend, John Luther Gray, told Oswego County Today.
Sheriff’s investigators announced earlier today (Nov. 12) that the body of an adult male was found by volunteer searchers off County Route 53 in the town of Scriba.
Gregory was last seen on Nov. 5. His car was found abandoned on County Route 53 last Saturday morning.
More than 60 of the missing man’s friends had gathered today to search the area where the accident happened and spread out from there. They had just completed a sweep of the area and met at a rendezvous point to consider their next move when the received word a body had been discovered in the area.
“It’s day seven since the last time I saw my best friend, Ray Gregory,” Gray said standing on the back of a pickup truck in the Oswego Speedway parking lot. “We’re meeting at Ray’s favorite spot to be in the summer, the Oswego Speedway. We are going to cover the area from the crash and move out from there.”
The plan was to walk the roads in small groups and use spray paint to mark off the areas that had been searched in two-mile increments.
“We all know it’s Ray,” Gray said solemnly. “That was the only side of the roadway that we hadn’t already checked. We were running out of ideas of where to search. I’m just glad it’s over and that we know where he is. It isn’t the outcome that I wanted. But, it’s over and we have some closure of sorts.”
Gray said he has already spoken with representatives of Oswego Speedway and will be arranging some sort of tribute to his friend later on this summer during racing season.
He said he appreciated so many people coming out to help search. Around 60 people got together last Sunday for an impromptu search as well, he added.
“We’re a tight family. I’d do this for anyone,” Gray said. “This is the great thing about living in a small community. People are always there to help when something happens. We have walked just about everywhere. We have got to end this, we need closure. You obviously hope for the best but… We are all family, you know. I would do this for any one of you guys.”
The group received several donations to help its efforts; Mitchell Printing contributed hundreds of posters to aid the cause.
“We’ve got to move on now. That’s all we can do. We can’t bring him back,” Gray said.
– by Steve Yablonski
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW
Police believe a body found during an expanded search Saturday may be that of Ray Gregory, the Fulton man missing since leaving an Oswego bowling alley last week.
The discovery was made Saturday afternoon, about a mile south of the place where Gregory’s car was found. The car was off the road along County Route 53. The car was found about three and a half hours after Gregory had left Lighthouse Lanes bowling center in Oswego.
Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan said the body was found in a field about 400 yards east of County Route 53. The body was found in a dip between two small hills, in a thin stream of water.
Sullivan said the body will undergo an autopsy at the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s office to confirm the identity, but police believe it’s Gregory.
He said that if the body is Gregory, it’s a mystery why he would have left the road to walk through a field. Police went to the site and Sullivan said there were no distant landmarks visible that Gregory could have used to navigate, such as the Oswego steam station smokestacks or the nuclear plant cooling tower.
“There is less than nothing out there,” Sullivan said.
There was no obvious sign of severe injury in the car, Sullivan said, noting that all they found was a few hairs in the roof line of the car, which was not much more than would be present if someone had combed their hair and it had stuck to the roof from static electricity. There was no blood in the car, he said.
Friends of Gregory’s and others took part in a wider search for Gregory starting at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.
Three search-and-rescue units combed the immediate area around the crash for signs of Gregory last weekend without success.
His family and friends kept the issue in the public eye through news articles and social media, asking people in the area to check their barns and sheds.
— by Dave Bullard