Search For Missing Man Suspended Friday Night; Will Continue Saturday

Emergency responders and canine units continue to search for a missing man, who was reported to be "despondent" by family members.


Update 5:24 p.m.

This just released from the CT DEEP: 

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today released information on the missing person that was reported to be in Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison. The missing person is John F. Lecza, age 56, of East Haven, CT.  He has not been found.

The search for Mr. Lecza began Wednesday evening, March 27, when his motor vehicle was found parked at Hammonasset Beach State Park.  The search resumed Thursday and Friday, March 28 and 29 and has been suspended for today.

Canine units from Connecticut Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police and State Police aided in the search along with the US Coast Guard.  The search will continue tomorrow.  This is an on-going investigation.  No further information is available at this time.

Update 1:58pm

The Meigs Point and Middle Beach lots have been reopened. State park officials say the search continues. 

The East Beach lot remains closed, but all or part of that lot was closed earlier this year as part of a dredging/beach replenishment project. 

EnCon police say the search continues, on the water, and by foot with canine units.

Original story: 

If you are going to Hammonasset Beach State Park today, please stay on the west side of the park. Also, please heed the park directive to keep your dogs on leash. The east side of the park is still closed off as emergency responders and canine units continue to search for a missing East Haven man.

Cyndy Chanaca, a representative from the Office of Communications of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said the search continues Friday, but the park is open. The missing man is not believed to be a danger to others, but was reported as being despondent by family members, Chanaca said.

Emergency responders have been searching for the missing man since Wednesday night. 

Meigs Point, East Beach, Middle Beach parking lots closed

Meigs Point and East Beach were closed off early Friday morning, and signs were placed on trails to close off the areas where searchers are focusing.

Some people are not heeding the signs and are walking around them. Around 10:40 a.m., park police also closed off a parking area to Middle Beach, and asked walkers to please stay to the west side of the park while the search was ongoing Friday.

Some dog walkers had their dogs on leash, others had them off leash. 

Ongoing investigation

"It is still an ongoing investigation," Chanaca said Friday morning. "The state police are assisting the EnCon [state park] police. Canine units from EnCon and the state police are in service." 

Chanaca said there have not been any reports that a weapon may be involved, or that the missing man is a danger to others.

"The officers are not aware that there is any weapon involved, that is not part of the equation," she said. 

Family concerned that missing man may be despondent

There is some concern on the part of family members that the man may be "despondent," Chanaca said. "The family reported him missing, as a despondent male missing." 

A Madison Patch reader who said he is a friend of the family said family and friends are concerned because it is uncharacteristic for him to be out of touch for this long. He said the missing man has military training as a Navy Seal, and so would know how to survive outside for periods of time. 

The Source is reporting that "people who have information about Lecza are asked to call the East Haven Police Department at 203- 468-3820, DEEP at 860-424-3333, or the Connecticut State Police at 860-685-8190."  

The man was reported as missing Tuesday. Wednesday night his car was found at the Meigs Point parking lot at Hammonasset. The search began Wednesday night and continued through Thursday. Just after noon on Wednesday, the park was closed to all visitors and an aerial, ground and water search was conducted from the park and from Clinton Harbor nearby. The search went into the night Thursday, and began again Friday morning at 7 a.m. 

Jess March 30, 2013 at 01:49 AM
My prayers are with the Lecza family. He is a wonderful man and I hope to see him home soon!
Joan deroche March 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Chk the cottages near by duds and Charlie young
Bryan George March 31, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Joan, this is the second time I've heard this "anonymous tip", what do you know?
Bryan George March 31, 2013 at 09:15 PM
He is indeed, I miss him. Such a good person. I hope he's still alive.


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