Press-Republican

Local News

January 7, 2014

Australian soldier missing in Saranac Lake area

SARANAC LAKE — The search continued on Monday here for an Australian man last seen New Year's Eve.

Paul McKay, 31, was walking along Route 86 toward Lake Placid at approximately 11 a.m. Dec. 31, police say.

Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason said McKay has no known contacts here: no family, no known friendships or other local ties.

But they are in touch with his father, John, in Australia.

“He is from Canberra, Australia,” Nason said of the younger McKay. “He flew to the U.S. and arrived in Newark airport on the 30th of December. From there, he took a bus and ended up in Saranac Lake.”

McKay is an active member of the Australian Army. And police are working with army officials in Australia, backtracking to see what McKay did at home in the days before he left.

“So far, we have no idea why he chose to come to Saranac Lake. His relatives had no idea he was even thinking of coming to the States,” Nason said.

LEFT ON FOOT

McKay checked into the Best Western Mountain Lake Inn in Saranac Lake on Dec. 30 and left the next day on foot, police said.

The soldier had sent an email to his father from the hotel, indicating he would not return to Australia, according to police. In his email message, McKay apparently gave his personal property to his father.

He left the hotel wearing a large backpack.

“There were some belongings left at the hotel,” Nason said. “He had a backpack with him, but we don’t know what he had in the backpack.”

Police have not released a description of the missing man’s backpack, using that as a method to prove positive identification from incoming public reports.

The Australian soldier is not married and has no children, Nason said.

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