Case Information

Missing
Shirley
Ann
Klemgard
September 16, 1989 - 00:00
March 09, 2011
48 to years old
70 years old
White
Female
57.0 inches
105.0 pounds

Circumstances

Alexandria Bay
New York
Jefferson
VICTIM AND BROTHER EDWARD LABRIE WERE LAST SEEN IN A 16' 1962 LONE STAR BOAT WITH A BLACK 40 HORSE POWER EVINRUDE MOTOR, COLORED WHITE WITH RED TRIM. RELATIVES STATED MOTOR HAD BEEN STALLING FREQUENTLY. SUBJECTS' CAR AND BOAT TRAILER WERE LOCATED AT A STATE BOAT LAUNCH IN HENDERSON HARBOR, NY.

 

 

https://www.findthemissing.org/cases/9655/94

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2 MISSING ONE YEAR, NOW BELIEVED DEAD IN LAKE ONTARIO

Watertown Daily Times (NY) - Sunday, September 16, 1990
Author: David C. Shampine Times Staff Writer
Dressed for warm weather and packing a few beers, a brother and sister from Calcium set out on one of their regular Lake Ontario fishing trips on a Saturday morning one year ago. They have not been seen since, having become lost at sea, according to the only clue they left behind. 

The key, a boat bumper bearing an SOS message, is believed to have been the last contact with civilization for Shirley Ann Klemgard, 49, and Edward J. LaBrie, 61. 

"We have taken every possible aspect - insurance fraud, kidnapping - but there is nothing to indicate that," state police Senior Investigator Robert S. Cooke said Friday. "By all appearances, it is a case of accidental death." 

Their mother, Mary LaBrie of Calcium, said the past year "has been horrible - not to hear anything or know what's going on. I'm sure they are gone all right. If they weren't dead, they would be here." 

"I hope something turns up," she said. "It's been hard thinking about it lately. My husband hasn't been well since all of this. He had a stroke over this and hasn't been the same. He's changed completely." 

When her children first disappeared, Mrs. LaBrie offered a $1,000 reward for any information about them. "If someone finds something, the bodies or whatever they learn, they can have the money, yes." 

Leaving Calcium at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, 1989, the two drove to a public boat launch they used frequently at Henderson Harbor. After putting their 16-foot white and red fiberglass Lone Star craft into the water, they presumably started the attached 40-horsepower motor and headed out for a day's fishing. 

As the day wore on, a southeast wind began whipping up waves over 3 feet high, creating unsafe conditions for a boat such as theirs. 

They became lost, but briefly, they were saved. 

They reached Galloo Island early in the evening, perhaps 6. Mrs. Klemgard found caretaker George D. Paddock on the island and asked for gasoline. He drove her to the dock, where Mr. LaBrie was waiting and bundled in a burlap bag, and gave the siblings five gallons of fuel, plus a quart of oil, ac cording to police. 

Mr. Paddock gave them directions to Henderson Harbor, but as they headed out, Mrs. Klemgard suddenly turned north, going off course. Mr. Paddock was watching, so he went out on his boat, led them to Stony Island, then left them, feeling confident they would make it the rest of the way. 

He was the last to see them. 

The wind intensified from 7 to 13 knots, pushing the waves at 2 to 4 feet. The siblings went off course again, while temperatures were dropping to the 50s. 

When Mr. Paddock saw them, they were not wearing their life jackets, Mr. Cooke said. 

It had been their habit to end their fishing outings by late afternoon. When they had not returned home Sunday morning, their mother and their brother Jerry went to Henderson Harbor and found their car and boat trailer still parked at the launch. State police were notified at 12:30 p.m. Sunday about the disappearance, and an extensive but fruitless search, hampered by deteriorating weather, was launched. 

"I was in an overflight in which we went as far as the western shore of Lake Ontario," Mr. Cooke said. "We crisscrossed the lake." 

They saw nothing. 

After word spread about the search, involving state police, the U.S. and Canadian coast guards and the Oswego County Sheriff's Department, Mr. Paddock contacted police and told them of his assistance to the missing persons, Mr. Cooke said. 

The only clue about the couple's fate was finally discovered Sept. 24, and gave indication that they had survived seven days while their boat drifted aimlessly in the middle of the Great Lake. Found near Sodus Point in Oswego County, about 35 nautical miles from where the missing pair had last been seen, were a marine distress kit, a bucket, a white sneaker, a fishing rod support bracket, parts of a flare and the boat bumper. 

A hand-printed message appeared on the bumper: "Send help Shirley Klemgard & Ed LaBrie lost 7 days on 16-foot boat fiberglass red & white.' 

Dwight R. Howes, a forensic scientist at the state police laboratory, examined the SOS and reported his opinion: "The person who executed the hand printing on the boat bum per is the same person who wrote on photographs and employment records which were given for comparison." 

The photographs and employment records were signed by Mrs. Klemgard. 

Since then, police have checked out two leads, both dead ends. First came a report in April that Mrs. Klemgard was seen alive in a Watertown supermarket. The sighting was actually of one of her relatives, Mr. Cooke said. 

Then, in May, the stern of a boat was found in sand near Southwick Beach State Park, Mr. Cooke said. "It was not their boat." 

"One problem we have is that the boat was not registered," Mr. Cooke said. "So we don't have any numbers to work with." 

The family believes the boat had been purchased from someone in the Adams area, "but we don't know who sold it," he said. Finding the former owner could help in developing a better description of the boat, he said. 

Meanwhile, the missing persons' dental records and other data have been saved by computer so they can be used for identification if skeletal remains are ever found. Mr. Cooke refused to say police have given up hope of ever closing the case. 

"But as time progresses, the chances decrease," he said, referring to four other unsolved presumed drownings, all occurring on the St. Lawrence River: 

August W. Kelder, 56, owner of the Goose Bay Inn, missing since June 13, 1979, when his boat hit a buoy west of Alexandria Bay; 

Steven Wayne Hatch, 19, Clayton, who disappeared Dec. 24, 1980, believed to have jumped from the Thousand Islands Bridge; 

Brett W. Schrimer, 21, Rochester, a diver who developed trouble Aug. 16, 1981, in about 100 feet of water near the international span, and 

Arthur J. Warren Jr., 31, Liverpool, missing since May 26 when a boat hit the same buoy that was struck by the Kelder boat. The body of Mary Beth Caruso, 33, Liverpool, a victim of the Warren accident, was recovered.
Edition: St. Lawrence
Section: Local
Page: A1
Record Number: 9009160043
Copyright (c) 1990 Watertown Daily Times

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