Chief: Search for missing woman is "a dilemma"

Water search scheduled for Wednesday

A SEARCH DOG IS used to walk along the water in Shadow Lakes, hoping to pick up a hit on the whereabouts of Kim Ellen “Kay” Gray.

BRAIDWOOD POLICE CHIEF Nick Ficarello and Administrative Assistant Tari Atherton mark off sections of the city where volunteers have searched for Kim Ellen “Kay” Gray. Gray has been missing for more than a week from her Shadow Lakes home.
Marney Simon
Staff writer

For nearly a week, dozens of volunteers on foot, golf carts, ATVs, horseback, and even in the air searched Shadow Lakes and Braidwood for a woman who left her home for a walk on June 12 and never returned.

But despite hundreds of man hours and a thorough search of Shadow Lakes and surrounding areas, 73-year-old Kim Ellen “Kay” Gray remains missing as of Tuesday, June 20.

Braidwood Police Chief Nick Ficarello said early on Wednesday, June 14, a cadaver dog indicated a hit at the channel that intersects Largemouth Lane, an area where her son said she takes a daily walk.

Mutual aid from MABAS Division 15 searched one of the lakes on Monday, but with no sign of Gray. MABAS returned to the area Wednesday afternoon, with Wilmington ESDA dragging the channel two times, and Conservation conducting a sonar search of the channel.

By Wednesday, a grid of the entire town and some outlying areas was created, with volunteers assigned to one of seven sections.

Search dogs were used throughout the week, and volunteers went door to door searching for the missing woman, but with no sign of her.

Ficarello said several tips did come in to the police, some indicating they had seen Gray in surrounding communities, and even as far away as Downers Grove.

“We’re running down those leads, she has a sister in Downers Grove,” Ficarello said. “We talked to her, and she was helpful and concerned, but she didn’t seem to be [withholding any information].”

Ficarello said the disappearance is a mystery.

“It’s a dilemma,” the chief said. “We’ve walked every street.”

Two teams of volunteers spent the weekend continuing the search, but with no sign of Gray.

Ficarello said the ground search was set to be suspended as of Monday, June 19, however, crews will return to Shadow Lakes Wednesday, June 21 for more searches.

“We’ll have additional water searches with divers on Wednesday, and search dogs,” Ficarello said. “[The water] is the only place that’s truly not visible, and from what we were told, she really didn’t like going outside of the area. It’s the only place not easily penetrated by a search, you have to be a diver or have special equipment.”

Ficarello said that numerous reported sightings of Gray had been cleared by the department.

In addition to Shadow Lakes and Braidwood, searches were also done at the cooling lake around Exelon’s property, and the Braidwood Dunes area along Route 113.

Gray was reported missing from her Smallmouth Lane home around 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 12. Her son noted that while he had not seen his mother since the previous evening, neighbors reported to have seen her on a walk on Monday morning.

Kay Gray is Korean-American, 73 years old, 5'1" and 130 pounds. She was diagnosed with dementia last winter, but family said medication was helping and she would take daily walks.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts can contact the Braidwood Police Department at 815-458-2341.