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Family photos of murder victim Darcy Manor line a Mooers Town Hall table Saturday afternoon as State Police Troop B Commander Maj. Richard Smith and Capt. Robert LaFountain discuss the ongoing investigation into the volunteer firefighter-s death

MOOERS -- Preliminary autopsy findings revealed that murder victim Darcy Manor was shot during an attack Thursday night at a rural camp.

State Police said the autopsy investigation was continuing Saturday evening at CVPH Medical Center and the exact cause of death is still pending.

Local authorities fanned out Saturday in search of his missing 1992 Ford truck, tracking leads across the Northeast and Canada.

They were also resuming aerial searches in case the missing vehicle has been "secreted in the woods of Northern New York."

As officials continue searching for Manor's teal pickup, they are now looking for a white male who was seen in the area carrying a backpack and walking stick shortly before Manor arrived to the Churubusco Lodge camp, which he maintained for the owners.

"We are asking for your assistance in identifying a person who was seen in the area," urged State Police Capt. Robert LaFountain. "This person may or may not be involved in this crime."

Smith added that any sightings or information could be useful and does not have to be limited to May 10, the day the father of two young sons was killed.

"Please do not hesitate to call," urged State Police Troop B commander Maj. Richard Smith. "The investigation is ongoing and we anticipate being here as long as it takes.

"We will be working vigilantly until this case is closed."

CONTINUING INVESTIGATION

The multi-agency investigation has continued to expand since Manor's body was discovered early Friday morning at the gated Drown Road camp, where he had gone several hours earlier to repair a pump after closing the Ellenburg Depot DJ's Auto car-repair shop around 5 p.m.

Police were continuing their heavy patrols through the Mooers area and had set up two strategic informational roadblocks in the surrounding rural roads in hopes of finding new leads in the investigation.

State Police divers were also called in Saturday morning to comb the murky waters near the secluded camp in search of any evidence that may be connected to the Ellenburg Depot volunteer firefighter's death.

"If anyone has noticed anything unusual (in the community), please call. Every lead is being followed," said Smith.

Anyone with information should call Plattsburgh-based State Police at 563-3761.

"We would like to thank everyone who has called in information," said LaFountain, adding that the widespread community assistance has helped officials with their ongoing investigation. "Anything (you) feel is suspicious, please call."

Police are also asking residents to watch for Manor's large truck, which bears a registration number of 35652JP and has a yellow light on top.

LaFountain advises that the original license plate may have been changed since the truck disappeared, and warns residents not to approach the vehicle themselves but report any possible sightings of the missing pickup.

"Anyone seen with the truck should be considered armed and extremely dangerous," Smith warned. "The murder weapon used to shoot Mr. Manor has not been recovered."

family devastated

Earlier in the day, family and friends of murder victim Darcy Manor pleaded with the public for any information that could help police.

"As you all know, our family suffered a horrible tragedy Thursday evening. We are pleading that anyone who has information, please contact the New York State Police," said Alan Cardin, the 35-year-old's uncle. "He was a great nephew. You couldn't have asked for a nicer guy. This is just absolutely crazy. There's no reason for it.

"This family needs to close this thing. If the (culprit) has a heart, please come forward. Give this thing up."

As Cardin pleaded with the community, sobbing family and friends of the devoted family man filled the Mooers Town Hall as they awaited an update on the investigation by State Police, who have been coordinating their extensive search efforts from the local fire station.

A steady stream of about 70 distraught family members packed into the Town Hall as officials addressed them and the media.

Only a few miles from the crime scene, devastated family and friends gathered at his residence, where his wife, Heather, and two sons, Jake and Evan, were attempting to cope with their sudden and unexpected loss.

"He was a pillar to not only his wife and two sons, but to his family, friends and the community," Cardin said.

"We were all shocked," said Lorna Cordel, who lives in Florida but had come home for a two-week vacation when her cousin's body was found murdered.

"It's like a dream, you think you're going to wake up. It just doesn't seem real," said Manya Dupree, Manor's aunt.

The murder has not only shocked family, friends and neighbors, but the many Northern Adirondack Central School children who suddenly lost their beloved bus driver.

"The kids were all talking about him. They all loved him," said Manor's aunt and school employee, Hilda DeCoste, adding that school officials will have counselors available to help students cope.

"Everyone just loved him. He was such a good guy," added his aunt Brenda Rabideau. "It just doesn't make any sense."

avanvalkenburg@pressrepublican.com

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