Sheriff investigates connection with Little Stony Point mystery
By Kevin E. Foley
Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports that his department is conducting a death investigation into human remains, which were located floating in the Hudson River. According to the Sheriff’s office, at about 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16, a kayaker found a naked body in the river near Constitution Island in Cold Spring. The boater notified officials at the United States Military Academy at West Point who then launched a boat to the scene and then notified the Sheriff’s office.
Members of the Sheriff’s marine unit, along with uniformed patrol deputies and investigators responded and recovered the body. After being pronounced dead by Dr. William Stahl, of the Putnam County Coroner’s Office, the body was transported to the Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death and determine the person’s identity. The victim is described as: a white male, 30 to 40 years of age, with salt and pepper colored hair.
On Friday night, Aug. 12, police from various departments were seen combing the Little Stony Point area on foot and in helicopters in search of a missing person. Chief Gerald Schramek, of the Sheriff’s office, confirmed to Philipstown.info the connection between the two events is under active investigation. In an interview with Philipstown.info, John Teagle, caretaker for Little Stony Point Park, acknowledged the police presence on Friday night and said the police discovered an individual’s personal belongings on the beach and could not locate the owner.
At the scene of the body’s discovery, members of the New York State Park Police and Cold Spring Fire Department assisted Sheriff’s personnel. The investigation is continuing by investigators from the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and members of the New York State Park Police.
The situation at Little Stony Point has gotten out of hand. Obviously, the state is financially strapped. But we have an out-of-control beach environment in this state park, and the state has no choice but to take immediate responsibility for this unsafe site. There are “No Swimming” signs, but, on a hot day, scores of people are in the water on this inviting free sandy beach. The crowd includes large families with very young children. An environment like this without a lifeguard is problem enough, but much more is going on. A large number of motorboat and jet ski users see Little Stony Point as a destination and anchor just off shore, most very close, so as to walk to the beach. There is some water skiing and raft/tube towing going on as well, and kayakers pass through. All of this with swimmers (and frolicing non-swimmers) in the same water. State beaches, of course, always separate swimmers and boaters. Both boaters and drivers use the beach for picnicing/partying, so fires, alcohol, and more are part of the mix. Water quality is, of course, another issue, especially after heavy rains, when sewage raises the bacteria count all along the river. This is all a very dangerous recipe and needs to be addressed immediately. What seems to be an idyllic setting is simply too accessible to not be regulated and patrolled. An attitude that people are there at their own risk is simply not responsible, especially when we are dealing with children.
Isn’t there a caretaker for Little Stony Point? What are his duties?
Sandy Beach once was a hidden gem for the residents of Cold Spring. When did all of this change and why? I can also remember when the Cold Spring Boat Club used to have their annual picnic at Sandy Beach in the late 1950s or early 1960s. There probably wasn’t a kid growing up in Cold Spring who didn’t walk along the tracks to get to Sandy Beach. There probably wasn’t a kid growing up in Cold Spring who didn’t take a dip in the Hudson at Sandy Beach. Sandy Beach is where most kids learned how to water ski. I am not sure if there was a caretaker for Sandy Beach back then. By the way, who is the caretaker now and what are the responsibilities?
I too am annoyed at Mr Rose’s comment. I am not a springer by birth but travel that road (9D) every day to and from work and personally I think you have a better chance of getting hit by a car than a boat pulling a water skier. The people using the beach seldom look when crossing the street and barely watch their kids, I wont even comment about the hikers. OK I will, I wish the local fire departments and state agencies got a fee to save hikers that use poor judgement on the mountain as this is more of a problem then Sandy Beach. So I guess maybe with the life guard we should get a professional crossing guard, professional hiking tour guide and a red light and waste more money that the state does not have.