INDIAN LAKE — Authorities say a body thought to be that of a missing Southern California man was discovered late Monday in the heart of the Adirondacks.

Fred Gillingham, 72, of Camarillo, Calif., had been a longtime seasonal resident in Indian Lake.

He was the target of an exhaustive search last month by state forest rangers and search-and-rescue volunteers near the Rock River in Hamilton County.

A hunter made the discovery in a remote area north of the river that had been outside the primary search area, said State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman David Winchell.

“The trail ends at Rock River; there’s no bridge or anything that crosses,” Winchell said. “It appears that he took the trail to the end and crossed the river and got a short distance away from the river before expiring.”

DEC and State Police hiked in early Tuesday to recover the body. But snowy weather and the rugged terrain prevented a state helicopter from extracting the body.

Winchell said rangers were using a boat and were prepared to work after dark.

“They’re going to work until they get the body out,” he said Tuesday evening.

Gillingham was well-known in the tight-knit community of Indian Lake, where he owned a summer camp. He was a regular at a local church and had attended morning services the day he’s thought to have vanished.

“He was the type of guy that you could easily like, very quickly,” said Pastor Paul Miller of the First Baptist Church. “And the fact was that he was a brother of the Lord, too. And our hearts go out to the family, but we know that he’s with the Lord now.”

Gillingham was reportedly last seen on Oct. 12 but wasn’t reported missing until Oct. 15, when he failed to show at a friend’s for dinner in Glens Falls.

His car was found parked at a trail head outside of Indian Lake, and searchers spent 12 days in the woods without finding a single clue. But rangers say that heavy rains fell between the time he vanished and when the search began, hindering the effort.

Gillingham’s family has been informed of the discovery, DEC officials said Tuesday, though State Police had yet to positively identify the body.

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