The six month search for Zachary Green drew to a sad conclusion Sunday when his body was found by a boater in a thicket of brush and debris in the Esopus Creek.
Green, a 33-year-old chef at Wiltwyck Country Club, was last seen on Jan. 2 in Uptown Kingston. On that night, police said, he went to the Holiday Inn, then to Chic’s sports bar in Kingston Plaza where he watched a football game with friends. Around 10:30, he left Chic’s, telling friends that he would return. A short time later he appeared at the front door of Le Canard Enchaine restaurant on Fair Street where he was turned away because the eatery was closing. The last glimpse of Green alive was captured by a security camera outside of Ulster Savings Bank on Wall Street just before 11 p.m. Police began looking for Green after his parents reported him missing and his car turned up illegally parked on Fair Street with a wallet and cell phone still inside.
In the days and weeks after the disappearance, police carried out an extensive search focused on the area around Kingston Plaza and the Esopus Creek using search and rescue dogs, helicopters and ATVs. Friends and family members formed their own search parties for repeated sweeps across the city and issued a $10,000 reward for information in the case, all to no avail.
On Sunday, June 12, a boater on the creek spotted what they believed could be a body in a stretch behind the New York State Armory near Manor Avenue and called police. According to Police Chief Gerald Keller, Green’s body was in an inaccessible area of the creek where the water was shallow and brush and debris choked the streambed. KPD investigators in a boat provided by the Ulster Hose Co. No. 5 confirmed the boater’s sighting. Firefighters used ropes to descend into the creek and recover the body.
Police said that the body was badly decomposed; Green’s identity could not be confirmed until Monday, June 13, following an autopsy at Kingston Hospital. Police say that Green was positively identified through dental records. Green’s family was notified immediately following the autopsy.
The autopsy did not establish the cause of death. KPD Detective Lt. Egidio Tinti said that there were no obvious signs of trauma which would indicate foul play. Tinti added that, because of the inaccessible nature of the stretch of creek where Green was found, it is likely that he entered the water elsewhere. Tinti said that the rise and fall of water levels in the Esopus made it impossible to determine where Green went into the water.
“He’s been missing since early January and since that time we’ve had heavy snow, heavy rains and flooding,” said Tinti. “We just can’t say with any certainty.”