LAKE RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The father of a kayaker reported missing in Lake Ronkonkoma said his son was dying from Huntington’s disease at the time of his disappearance.
“He has Huntington’s disease, yea,” Harold Conley told 1010 WINS. “His brother has Huntington’s, his mother died from Huntington’s.”
Conley, 75, said that his son, 40-year-old Kevin Conley of Sound Beach, had no experience with kayaking.
“He just bought it from some guy over there at the lake for $50 bucks,” Harold Conley said. “That’s the first time he had a kayak.”
Conley said his son was not a very good swimmer either.
“He wasn’t much of a swimmer,” he told 1010 WINS. “I hope they find him.”
But after three days of searching, Conley isn’t holding out much hope for his son to come home.
“I think it’s too late to hope that he’s still alive because he’s been gone for three days now,” he said.
Witnesses called 911 on Thursday afternoon to report a kayaker was in the water and yelling for help. People reportedly saw his life vest come off before he disappeared under the water and never resurfaced, CBS 2 reported.
Police found a backpack they believed to belong to Conley. It had narcotics and alcohol inside, and it was suspected that he might have been under the influence, officials told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.
Police also found the kayak, which had a hole in it, officials said. Conley’s father said his son knew the kayak had a hole in it, 1010 WINS reported.
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