Missing man found in state forest

Richard Roncarti

BEACON FALLS — An extensive, nearly week-long search for 50-year-old Richard Roncarti came to end Thursday when rescue and state workers found him found alive in the Naugatuck State Forest.

Roncarti was taken by Beacon Hose Company No. 1 of Beacon Falls to Waterbury Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries after he was found about 12:30 p.m. on a dirt road by railroad tracks, fire officials said.

He was listed in stable condition later Thursday, a hospital spokesman said.

Roncarti told police that he fell while hiking, Waterbury police spokesman Capt. Christopher Corbett said. Roncarti appeared to have suffered a possible broken leg, he said.

Beacon Hose Company No. 1 Fire Chief Mike Pratt said Roncarti apparently became disoriented in the woods, fell off a cliff and managed on his own to crawl to railroad tracks in the area of High Rock State Park.

A state Department of Transportation project inspector, who was in the area for a rail line bridge project near High Rock and Cold Spring roads in Beacon Falls, saw the man at some point after noon and notified authorities, said Kevin Nursick, a DOT spokesman.

Corbett said Roncarti was disoriented when he was found and told police he had been in the state forest for two or three days. Corbett had no more details as police hadn’t had an opportunity to interview Roncarti as of late Thursday.

Roncarti’s family reported him missing June 7. The call came in that Roncarti was depressed, and his family grew concerned after he left his mother’s home in Waterbury without leaving word, Corbett said.

Roncarti’s 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup was found in the parking lot of the High Rock shooting range in the Naugatuck State Forest off of Hunters Mountain Road in Naugatuck last week. Members of the shooting association called police on Saturday after the truck was parked at the range for a couple of days. It was subsequently identified as Roncarti’s vehicle, which set off the search for him in the forest.

Since Saturday, state police, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials, and area firefighters had been combing the state forest for Roncarti. Extensive searches had been conducted with dogs and officers on horseback and on all-terrain vehicles.

Around 9 a.m. Thursday state police, along with the state DEEP police, and firefighters from Beacon Falls, Naugatuck, Oxford and Seymour, launched a joint search. Authorities were in the area when the DOT worker called, said Jeremy Rodorigo, Beacon Hose spokesman.

Pratt said Roncarti was found wearing sneakers, blue jeans, and a light-colored T-shirt. He had no food or supplies with him, he said. Roncarti asked for a drink but was told he had to wait for a medic, the chief said.

The man was wet from the rain, and had a lot of bruises, Pratt said. He told authorities that he took a walk, fell and broke his leg, he said.

Rodorigo said he wonders how the man survived the woods for an entire week. The weather wasn’t terrible, but there were some cooler nights and a downpour one night, he said.

“I don’t know how he did it,” Rodorigo said. “I’m glad he survived.”