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Efforts stall in search for missing Navy sailor who disappeared after leaving nightclub

Séamus Gray was last seen early March 18, 2023, authorities said. (Image at left via Waukegan Police Department; at right via Kerry Rodier Gray)

Séamus Gray was last seen early March 18, 2023, authorities said. (Image at left via Waukegan Police Department; at right via Kerry Rodier Gray)

Efforts to find a missing Navy sailor have stalled after authorities said they performed an extensive, on-the-ground search for the young man. Séamus Gray, 21, has not been seen since March 18, according to the Waukegan Police Department in Illinois.

“After extensive search, exhausting all our efforts, we were unable to locate him,” Waukegan police Commander Scott Chastain said Friday, announcing that several local police and fire departments and more than 100 Navy personnel joined the search, according to NBC Chicago. They “hit everything we can on land, in the air, and along the coast.”

Authorities have reportedly said that Gray, a sailor assigned to the Naval Station Great Lakes, was last seen at around 1:35 a.m. leaving Ibiza Nightclub at 17 N. Genesee Street in Waukegan. And yet he did not report back to the base though he was scheduled to come back at 2 a.m.

Police said they were told of his disappearance at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t until some days later that they had some information that they uncovered that determined that he was in fact in Waukegan the early morning hours of [March 18],” Waukegan Deputy Chief Brian Mullen said.

Surveillance footage purportedly shows Gray speaking to people and eventually being on the ground. At another point, someone in the group appeared to take a wallet from Gray’s pocket, though this individual threw it back at him.

Gray was later seen walking off by himself.

Ibiza manager Adrian Hernandez said in a press conference on Wednesday that Gray entered the business twice early Saturday but was escorted out for being too intoxicated.

He asserted Gray was involved in at least two altercations outside.

“It’s just a sad situation for us,” Hernandez said. “We just want him to be found … we just want to cooperate in any way we can. We’re doing everything we can to cooperate with the police investigation with the family.”

Writing on Sunday, Séamus’ mother Kerry Rodier Gray said her son had been attacked.

“Séamus was assaulted outside of the establishment and was pickpocketed,” she wrote. “He had one drink at that bar later that night and one earlier in the night. My son was in his Vineyard Vines Nantucket Reds and a Green T shirt under. He had on his Sperry’s. Someone had to see him after he ‘walked’ away.”

Chastain reportedly maintained that the investigation continues though they ceased the expansive efforts stretching from Waukegan to North Chicago and the Naval Station Great Lakes. They’ve also used more sonar equipment because of the cold temperatures in Lake Michigan. Recent weather — reportedly strong winds and high waves — complicated efforts in the search.

“That’s a factor for the water as well as the currents,” he said. “If someone did go into water, it can take them as far as Chicago or Milwaukee. And that’s happened in the past.”

Officers ask that anyone with information can send tips through their tip app, their tip line at 847-360-9001 or text keyword “WPDTIP” with the tip to 847411.

“The last 8 days have been grueling, nauseating, heartbreaking and quite honestly soul crushing,” Kerry Rodier Gray said on Sunday. “This boy is my heart, my world, my love of my life along with his little brother Deck. As I type this I’m trying not to throw up. I cannot sleep, and will not sleep until I have answers as to where my son is, and what happened to him.”

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