Missing man found dead after multi-agency search

Feb. 2—Law enforcement officers found the body of Matthew V. Sisson in the Susquehanna River after a multi-agency search Friday, Feb. 2 — one week after he went missing.

Sisson, 45, of Otego, reportedly walked out of Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, where he was being treated for a perforated appendix, Jan. 26 .

He was last seen walking down an embankment toward the Susquehanna River near the hospital.

A week of searching the area and following up on tips of reported sightings did not produce any credible leads for Cooperstown police, the lead agency in the search.

On Friday, about 100 law enforcement officials from multiple agencies gathered in the morning at the Cooperstown Fire Department for a large-scale search for Sisson.

At about 11:15 a.m., Otsego County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Richard Kimmerer, who was with a team of deputies and a state forest ranger, located a deceased male in the Susquehanna River. The man was later identified as Sisson.

The state Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the death, according to a statement issued by the Cooperstown Police Department Friday.

"We offer our condolences to the family," the statement said. "At this time, the family is requesting privacy so they can process this tragedy and grieve in their own way. We would like to thank the community for all their efforts and support."

The Cooperstown Police Department thanked the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the DEC Forest Rangers, New York State Police, Otsego County Sheriff's Office, Otsego County District Attorney, New York State Fire, Otsego County Emergency Services, Otsego County EMS, Cooperstown Volunteer Fire Department, Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Department, West Edmeston Fire Department and members of the public who assisted in the search efforts.

Bassett Healthcare Network spokesperson Gabrielle Argo said in a statement Friday on behalf of Bassett that "all of us at Bassett Healthcare Network are deeply saddened by the news shared from local law enforcement of Matthew Sisson's passing.

"Our hearts and prayers are with his loved ones during this tragic time," she said. "We are grateful for the dedication of the many law enforcement professionals, first responders, and volunteers who helped with search efforts. We mourn with our community."

Sisson's disappearance generated an outpouring of community interest thanks to the efforts of Sisson's niece Kate Stankiewicz to bring public attention to her missing uncle, including creating a Facebook group that grew nearly 2,500 members.

"He was found on the opposite side of the river," Stankiewicz posted in the group Friday. "He was very close to the hospital. He did not travel far before he passed away."

Hundreds of people shared condolence comments and praised Stankiewicz's efforts and strength.

"Kate you were amazing and clearly loved him so much," Serina Wilber posted. "I admire your drive and ability to work through the worst of times. Sending healing thoughts and comfort your way."