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Coast Guard calls off search for missing Montville man on Thames River

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GALES FERRY -- The Coast Guard has called off the search for a missing Montville man who left to go fishing on Thames River Sunday morning and never returned home.

The Coast Guard said they called off the search at sundown on Monday. They will not search again unless new information is developed.

“Suspending a search is a difficult decision to make,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer John Colella, command duty officer of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and loved ones effected.”

Responders said they searched for approximately 15 hours covering roughly 80- square nautical miles

Connecticut State Police, the United States Coast Guard and other federal, state and local agencies began searching the Thames River late Sunday evening for Lyle Dagenais, 31 of Uncasville, who took three fishing poles, a tacklebox and his kayak to go fishing Sunday at 11 a.m., according to family members. They reported him missing at about 11 p.m..

At 11 a.m. Monday, the Coast Guard search team brought the missing man's kayak to shore. Investigators Learned the kayak was actually recovered at 3 p.m. on Sunday, by some boaters on the river. The men said they didn't report it to authorities because they didn't know that anybody was missing. They said they reached out to police Monday morning after hearing news reports of the man's disappearance.

The only other item recovered by police was Dagenais' car, which they found parked at the Montville boat launch late Sunday night. Dagenais is described as being a clean-shaven white man, 5'8" tall, weighing 140 pounds with brown hair. He was last seen in the Montville area wearing a gray "I Love NY" hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored jeans or khakis, and hiking boots.

Montville police, The United States Coast Guard and Connecticut State Police deployed helicopters through the overnight and for a couple of hours during daylight. They have special equipment that can identify heat.

The Thames River temperature is hovering near 40°. The Coast Guard says someone wearing a lifevest could possibly survive in water that cold for up to several hours. But, without a lifevest, they say it's likely to be only an hour at the most.

The boaters discovering the kayak Sunday afternoon said it was upright, with a fishing pole in its holder and fish finding sonar operational.

A neighbor of Dagenais described him as an avid fisherman.

Any one with information is asked to call state police at 860-848-6500.

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