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Missing fisherman was on parole, police say

U.S. Coast Guard still searching for fisherman
Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 00:07:20-04

The missing fisherman who authorities have been scouring Lake Erie for was on parole in Canada, according to police in Ontario.

The Niagara Regional Police confirm that 37-year-old Giusseppe Reinhart had previously been serving a prison sentence for manslaughter charges in 2008.

According to the Niagara Falls Review, Reinhart spent several years in prison after pleading guilty in February 2008 to manslaughter in the stabbing of a man he had a dispute with in the parking lot of an inn in Niagara Falls, Ontario in August 2005.

During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Buffalo Coast Guard Commander Tad Drozdowski said he was aware of the missing fisherman's criminal past, but would not elaborate.

"We do have that knowledge and if we do come across it we will use it accordingly, but all of our efforts remain on searching for him," he said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Buffalo Police asked the public and boaters to be on the lookout for a boater who went missing Tuesday morning on their Facebook page, but later deleted the post.

The BPD's Facebook post said the missing fisherman is wanted in Canada, and included a description of a white man, 5'4" tall and 150 pounds, with blue eyes and black hair. Police did not say what he is wanted for.  

 

Despite what the Buffalo police posted, and later removed, the U.S. Coast Guard said they are still searching for Reinhart and have every reason to believe he is in the water. Officials say no cell phone was on board the boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard started searching for Reinhart around 1pm Tuesday after Hamburg Police noticed an apparently unmanned boat with multiple fishing poles. Crews noticed coolers filled with ice and fresh-caught walleye, but no one on board.

Hamburg Police requested the help of the Coast Guard who sent a 45-foot response boat to begin a search of the Lake Erie shoreline for the Niagara Falls, Ontario man, who had been fishing nine kilometers outside of Wanakah, N.Y.

The missing fisherman's GPS/chart plotter contained a marking titled MOB (Man Over Board), according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ltjg. Katelyn Waddle describes that point as similar to a pin that can be dropped on a phone, or a saved location on a GPS device.

The MOB point was discovered when the Coast Guard was reviewing evidence, Waddle says. That point never sent an alarm, contrary to earlier reports that an MOB feature was triggered nine kilometers from where the unmanned boat beached itself.

The Coast Guard says the boat is currently with Hamburg Police in evidence, and has been scrubbed by forensic teams who found no evidence of foul play.

7 Eyewitness News spoke with police in Niagara Falls, Ontario, who stated there is nothing to suggest criminality at this time and Reinhart is being treated as a missing person.

Air and boat patrol is being conducted by both American and Canadian officials.