GREENWICH ♦ The body of missing Schuylerville High School senior Jesse Cale was pulled from the Hudson River on Thursday after a friend spotted him.
The body was found around 1 p.m. near where Cale was last seen late last Friday as he cooked hot dogs around a campfire with friends and his father.
There were no apparent injuries and no signs of foul play, police said. He was found on the Washington County side of the river.
Cale’s grandmother, CJ Lofgren, said a friend of Cale’s who was camping with him, Paul Byers, spotted the hood of Cale’s sweatshirt in the river and yelled to Cale’s father, who swam out to pull him to shore.
“He got rescued by his own daddy,” she said, in tears. “God gave him back to us.”
Byers had been watching the river as friends and relatives continued their search for Cale.
“He was exactly in front of the campsite where they had been,” Lofgren said.
State Police said Cale had a medical condition that caused seizures, particularly when he was subjected to cold water.
State Police were in the process of transporting the body to Albany Medical Center later Thursday for an autopsy and formal identification.
The police search for the teen resumed Thursday after forest rangers and state troopers failed to initially locate him in the first days after he was reported missing.
The group was camping in a wooded area 10 to 15 feet from the river, off Route 113, when Cale disappeared around midnight after he walked off to get firewood, police said.
Forest rangers, State Police and volunteer searchers combed more than 400 acres in the area in the days that followed, and used a helicopter, boats and an airboat to scour the river.
Police had suspected he had fallen in the river. Heavy rains earlier this week had caused the river to rise and become quite muddy.
Cale’s family had offered a $20,000 reward for information “that leads to Jesse’s return home,” but it was unclear if Byers would seek or qualify for the reward.
Schuylerville Central School planned to have counselors on hand for students Friday, high school Principal Matt Sickles said.
“On behalf of the Schuylerville School District, I want to express my heartfelt sympathy to Jesse’s family at this difficult time,” Sickles said in a statement posted on the school’s website. “Jesse was an exceptionally well-liked student who was known for his sense of humor, kindness and quick smile. He’ll be truly missed by his fellow students, teachers and all of the other people whose lives he touched.”
Jesse was involved in the school-to-work internship program and enjoyed country music and spending time with his classmates, according to Sickles.
The district’s crisis team is arranging for grief counselors to be available for any student or staff member needing support, Sickles said. Parents should feel free to contact the Student Services Center at 695-3255, ext. 2239 for advice on how to handle any grief or concerns that their children may be experiencing.