Downsville man found dead of apparent drowning

·2 min read

Mar. 25—A Downsville man was found dead hours after he was reported missing from his state Highway 30 home Tuesday, March 23.

Nicholas DeCarlo, 67, died of apparent drowning after falling down a steep embankment and into a deep ditch filled with water about half a mile from his home near Airport Road, according to Earnest Cawley Jr., officer in charge of the Colchester Police Department. No foul play is suspected.

A welfare check requested by an outside agency on an unrelated call led police to declare DeCarlo missing at around 10:30 a.m. when his vehicle was found parked at his residence but he was not found at home or at area hospitals, according to Cawley.

DeCarlo was found after an approximately three-hour search of the area, Cawley said. Colchester police were assisted by New York State Forest Rangers, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office and its drone, and the Downsville Fire Department and its hovercraft.

A preliminary investigation found that DeCarlo was walking along an earthen embankment adjacent to state Highway 30 when he lost his footing and fell into the ditch, where he was unable to get up and subsequently drowned sometime between 6 and 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to Cawley. DeCarlo likely left his residence earlier that morning.

DeCarlo, who lived alone at the time of his death, had no reported history of wandering off or other dementia-related behaviors, but may have exhibited them as early as last week, Cawley said.

The Colchester Police Department has not investigated a death or a missing persons case in several years, Cawley said. "It's not a common occurrence in our township."

The investigation is ongoing.

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.