Reward upped for info leading to Gillis’ return

TUPPER LAKE – The reward has been more than doubled for information that leads to the location and/or return of missing Tupper Lake teen Colin Gillis.

On Friday, the 10-month anniversary of the pre-med student’s disappearance, the Gillis family announced the reward will be increased from $10,000 to $25,000.

“We just felt it was the right time,” said Colin’s uncle Rob Gillis, who is sponsoring the reward with Rob’s sister, Barbara Bonneau, who lives in Skowhegan, Maine.

He said they decided to raise the reward now on the advice of both state police and the family’s attorney.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne has also agreed to erect a billboard asking for information about Gillis on a site close to where 18-year-old Colin Gillis was last seen, on state Route 3 between Tupper Lake and Piercefield, near the line between Franklin and St. Lawrence counties. Rob Gillis said a landowner near there is allowing the billboard to be installed.

He said they hope to have it in place before March 11, the anniversary of the last time Colin was seen.

Rob Gillis said state police are still following up on a lot of leads that come their way, and much of the information they can’t share with the family.

“They filter it; they follow up; they cannot really discuss it,” he told the Enterprise. “So far, nothing.”

Colin Gillis was last seen at about 2 a.m. March 11, 2012, on state Route 3 near the line between the towns of Tupper Lake and Piercefield. He had left a party near there on foot after a fight and appeared disoriented to the motorists who were the last people to report seeing him.

The Gillis family continued to search the woods and other outdoor areas for Colin after an extensive search by state Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers was downgraded to “limited continuous” status, which means they perform drills in the area but don’t actively search on a regular basis.

When the hunting season began in the fall, the DEC put out a call to hunters to keep their eyes peeled for any hints about Colin’s disappearance. Rob Gillis said the family had hoped that if some clue had been overlooked, it would be found then.

“That didn’t happen,” he said. “The search efforts are more in the hands of the authorities at this point.”

The disappearance is “difficult, still very difficult” for the family, he said.