Parents seek answers in son's death; Skidmore students not talking
SARATOGA SPRINGS The parents of the Boston College student who drowned March 6 in Putnam Brook said in a letter to police department officials that the events leading up to their son’s death “remain perplexing to us — there seem to have been so many squandered opportunities to save him.”
Alexander Grant, 19, of Westchester County, was visiting friends at Skidmore College on March 5 and attended an off-campus party at 146 Church St. that night.
Police said the college sophomore left the party at 11:30 p.m. March 5 and was next seen on video, only partially clothed, breaking into a medical office building on Care Lane at 1:15 a.m. March 6. He was not reported missing until shortly before 5 p.m. on March 6.
“We want to let you know that we remain deeply distressed and puzzled as to what happened to Alex — particularly during the interval between his departure from the party and the time when his disappearance was made known to the Saratoga Springs Police Department,” said parents Ken and Deanna Grant in a letter to city Public Safety Commissioner Richard Wirth, Police Chief Christopher Cole and other members of the police department.
Wirth said he received the letter on Monday and released it on Thursday.
Most of the two-page letter is devoted to thanking all of the police officers, volunteer searchers, firefighters and state forest rangers who spent two days searching for Grant.
“We are grateful to all the professional first responders, as well as the volunteers who trudged through the snow in their efforts to locate our boy,” they said in the letter. “These people will remain in our hearts forever.”
The parents said, however, that they are very interested in the progress of the police investigation.
“In addition to being deeply distraught at the unfortunate span of critical hours that lapsed before the rescue efforts could commence, we don’t believe that we have been told everything that we need to know about this by Alex’s friends who were present at the time of his disappearance,” they said.
“They have, according to our understanding, engaged legal representation and for whatever reason have not chosen to share additional information with us,” they wrote to city officials.
Cole said Thursday that his investigators are having a difficult time when they attempt to question students who were at the house parties at 146 and 150 Church St. the night Grant disappeared.
He said many of the Skidmore College students who live at these off-campus locations have obtained lawyers and are not saying much to police. “We have not been able to talk to anybody,” Cole said.
“There are other avenues, other leads, we are following,” Cole said about the ongoing investigation. He would not elaborate about what these leads may be.
Grant’s body was found on the morning of March 8 in 4 feet of water under an ice ledge in a bend of Putnam Brook, less than a quarter mile from the medical office building where he was last seen on video surveillance tape.
Police want to learn more about Grant’s whereabouts between 11:30 p.m. March 5 and 1:15 a.m. March 6, as do Grant’s parents.
Funeral services were held for Grant last weekend in Briarcliff Manor in Westchester County.
Skidmore College officials are awaiting the outcome of the police investigation before they take any disciplinary or other action against any Skidmore students involved in the case.
Andrea Wise, a Skidmore spokeswoman, said Thursday that the students have been encouraged to cooperate with city police but that they do have a right to be represented by a lawyer.
City police were called to 146 and 150 Church St. late March 5 and early March 6 because of loud noise and numerous people gathered outside the rental housing units.
“We feel we need the closure of better understanding of what exactly happened to help us deal with our loss,” the Grants said in the letter to the city.