Search for missing man continues

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Richard Roncarti was found Thursday alive.

Beacon Falls Emergency Management Director Kurt Novak, left, and Beacon Falls Fire Chief Michael Pratt look over a map of the Naugatuck State Forest Thursday morning in Beacon Falls. State police, officials with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and area firefighters are searching the forest off of Cold Spring Road for 50-year-old Richard Roncarti, who was last seen June 7 at his mother’s home in Waterbury. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The search for a missing man continued this morning in the Beacon Falls section of the Naugatuck State Forest.

Richard Roncarti, 50, was reported missing last Thursday. He was last seen at his mother’s home in Waterbury, where he was staying. Waterbury police spokesman Capt. Chris Corbett said, in a previous interview, Roncarti’s family was concerned for him because he was depressed.

“We do not think he was the victim of foul play, but we are concerned for the safety of his wellbeing,” Corbett said in a previous interview.

Roncarti’s 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup was found abandoned in the parking lot of the High Rock shooting range in the Naugatuck State Forest off of Hunters Mountain Road in Naugatuck last week. The truck was parked in the lot since last Thursday. Members of the shooting association called police on Saturday to report the truck and it was subsequently identified as Roncarti’s vehicle.

Since Saturday, state police, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials, and area firefighters have been combing the state forest for any sign of Roncarti — to no avail.

Richard Roncarti

This morning the search, which is being led by the state police, focused on a roughly half-square mile of the forest off of Cold Spring Road. A command center was set up in a clearing about a mile into the forest after the end of the road.

“We’re just taking care of the area to make sure everything’s covered,” said Kurt Novak, Beacon Falls’ emergency management director.

Beacon Falls Fire Chief Michael Pratt said about 20 people were searching this morning and firefighters from Naugatuck, Seymour, and Oxford were assisting in the search as well.

Naugatuck Fire Chief Ken Hanks said he received a request for mutual aid from Beacon Hose Company No. 1 this morning and eight borough firefighters are assisting in the search.

The area of the forest being canvassed is a difficult one to search, explained Pratt. The forest is dense and there are portions of the trail that drop off rock cliffs, he said.

Pratt said certain areas that have to be searched by foot and officials can get into those areas with police canines.

Hanks added the forest’s dense canopy also makes it difficult to search the woods from a helicopter.

The search is expected to continue throughout the day. Pratt said officials are searching for any sign of Roncarti. As of this post nothing has been found.