The body of a man with dementia was found in Massachusetts' Lake Quinsigamond on Wednesday, Worcester police said, after divers searched the water for him.
The grief and pain was palpable as loved ones of the 68-year-old man, whose name was not released, learned the news no one wanted to hear.
"We always hope for a better outcome," said Adam Roche, Worcester's acting deputy fire chief.
Investigators say a witness called police shortly after 8:30 Wednesday morning after watching the man walk with no shoes on in the parking lot of Regatta Point in the direction of the shoreline. He did not return.
Police later learned the man has dementia.
"They saw him walk towards the water, did not see him walk out, so we started a search in the water, we searched a large area," Roche said. "It took almost four hours to search the area we suspected he may be in."
Dive teams rotated in and out of the frigid water, searching for hours in the rain and foggy conditions.
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"We did have a strong suspicion that this individual we were looking for was in the water, so we wanted to make sure we saw through all the options we had to locate him," said Roche.
After nearly four hours, the man's body was located.
"He was found about 60 feet out from the shoreline, about 20 feet deep," said Roche.
Investigators say it's unclear how or why the man ended up in the lake.
"It's a very sad situation for this family, especially around the holidays," Roche said.
Investigators do not suspect foul play.