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Search for man missing after Black River canoe accident continues


WATERTOWN — The search for missing canoeist John Villafranco continued Tuesday, and despite the efforts of local law enforcement, divers and a nonprofit group joining in the search, Mr. Villafranco remains missing.

On Monday, Keith A. Cormican and his son Jeremy J. took to the water with a sonar device, searching for signs of the missing man. On Tuesday, the two used a remotely operated vehicle with an attached camera to more thoroughly search the areas of the Black River that they were able to pinpoint using Monday’s sonar readings.

The two operate as Bruce’s Legacy, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit group organized in honor of Keith’s brother, Bruce, a Black River Falls, Wis., firefighter who died while attempting to rescue a group of canoers in 1995.

Even though Bruce’s Legacy, which has two pending searches in Wisconsin to attend to, plans to leave today, the search for Mr. Villafranco will continue, Jefferson County Detective David J. Pustizzi Jr. said.

The sheriff’s department has been in contact with the city hydroelectric plant and Glen Park hydro plant to ensure that the intake grates leading into the plants are examined daily.

“The search is not going to stop,” Mr. Pustizzi said.

Gilbert H. and Blanche G. Villafranco, the parents of the missing man, have been in the area since the day after the accident from their home in San Antonio and have been walking the edge of the river from the Eastern Boulevard site where the accident occurred all the way down to the Glen Park plant, a distance of about 6½miles. They were out again Tuesday morning, as they have been every morning since they arrived here.

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