Search For Older Hudson Valley Couple Ends in Gruesome Discovery
A married couple who went missing this week was found after a tip from their daughter led to a tragic scene.
According to the Sullivan County Sheriff's office, a concerned daughter of a Hudson Valley couple called authorities on Monday after being unable to reach her parents. The New York City woman explained that she had failed to connect with her mother and father and was worried for their safety.
The Sheriff's Office alerted the Town of Fallsburgh police who made a welfare check at the couple's home at Foxcroft Village in Loch Sheldrake. After finding the residence empty, police began to search the local area.
The daughter revealed to police that she believed that her parents may have set out to go ice fishing on Monday afternoon. Following the lead, police investigated several lakes and ponds in the surrounding area. The search was made difficult by the severe snowstorm that hit the region on Monday evening.
During the worst of the storm just after 2:30 am, a deputy discovered the couple's 2021 Nissan Murano near Woodbourne at a pond on Hutrat Road just off Route 52. Officers were able to see ice fishing tip-ups on the frozen pond but were unable to locate the missing couple. More emergency personnel were called to the scene to continue the search in the early morning snowstorm. The Loch Sheldrake Fire Department attempted to search the pond but was thwarted by thin ice.
Later that morning, the Sullivan County Fire Coordinator's Office was able to supply equipment to continue the search of the pond. After sunrise, a drone was used to investigate the area and divers were sent into the water where the tip-ups were found.
Sadly, the two victims were discovered ten feet below the pond's surface about 100 feet from the shoreline. The deceased couple was identified as 63-year-old Viktor Nikitin and 70-year-old Svetlana Nikitin.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office commended the hard work of first responders during the severe winter storm and warned Hudson Valley residents that the warmer-than-usual winter has not allowed the ice on ponds and lakes to be thick enough to walk on and residents should "use extreme caution and always let someone know where you are going."