SENECA FALLS — Three months after he was reported missing, the body of a local man was found Sunday in the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.
Seneca Falls Police Chief Stu Peenstra said Ronnie Key’s body was sent to an area hospital for an autopsy, although Peenstra said foul play is not suspected.
“It’s tragic, and we certainly feel bad for Mr. Key’s family,” Peenstra said. “Hopefully, this will give them some closure.”
Peenstra said police had been looking for Key, 64, since he was reported missing in early January. At the time, Peenstra noted Key had a history of mental illness and suicidal thoughts.
Peenstra called it an extensive search that included waterways and wooded areas. Key did not take his vehicle or wallet when he left home, his cell phone was turned off, and he did not tell anyone he was leaving.
The Seneca County sheriff’s office and state police joined the search. Drones were used, and state police used sonar in the waters of the canal and Cayuga Lake.
“We were actively looking for him every day since he was reported missing,” Peenstra said, adding that police searched the canal and VanCleef Lake recently, after the ice melted. “The case was never off our radar. We always had an idea he may be in the canal, but we just could not find him.”
Peenstra said his officers responded to an area near Cowing Street about 2 p.m. Sunday after a caller reported seeing what appeared to be a body under floating docks on the north side of the canal wall. Seneca Falls firefighters also responded, providing water rescue equipment.