State, Nassau police search Hempstead Lake State Park for missing Westbury teenager

Anonymous tip sent to 19-year-old's family said to check pond in the area

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Police continued searching the ponds and surrounding woods in Hempstead Lake State Park on Tuesday for a 19-year-old Westbury man, just days after a relative of the teenager received anonymous text messages that said to check the area.

New York state, state park and Nassau County police began searching the park on Sunday night for the missing teenager, Louis Germosen. County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said on Monday that the roughly 40 officers involved in the search had not yet found anything, but that the investigation was continuing.

Germosen’s father, Luis, sat alone in his car outside Field 2 of the park at 2 p.m. Tuesday, minutes after police had stopped searching the area for the day. “I’m just waiting for an update,” he said with an anxious calm.

Louis Germosen was last seen by his mother leaving his Westbury home on June 28. A friend dropped him off later that evening in West Hempstead at a Roosevelt Avenue house that he often went to, according to his father.

Luis added that his son did not pack clothes, which he sometimes did when he planned to be away from home for a few days. His mother reported him missing to Nassau County police on July 3, Luis told the Herald, adding that he searched for his son around town at delis and other businesses. “I was asking anybody,” he said. “I didn’t care who gave me information. If you’re a dad, you’re desperate. You’ll take information from anybody in the street.”

Just after 2 p.m. on Sunday, Luis said that his son’s cousin Jason received an anonymous text message saying the family should “check pond thoroughly,” referring to Schodack Pond, off Peninsula Boulevard south of Hempstead Lake, on the border of Rockville Centre and West Hempstead.

In addition to providing two additional West Hempstead addresses near the park, the sender wrote, “Good luck God bless.”

“You don’t think. You just think [to] get to the area,” Luis said. “. . . Obviously something’s wrong, but you go with it.”

A police helicopter flew overhead as the search continued Monday afternoon. Ryder said that the department’s Marine Bureau was involved in the investigation, but noted that the pond being searched is not clear. He added that he did not yet know whether the tip was credible or a hoax, but that officials were vetting any tip about Germosen’s whereabouts.

His family previously told some news outlets that their son might have hung out with members of MS-13, an El Salvadoran gang that has murdered as many as five teenagers across the South Shore in recent years. However, Luis and Louis’s brother, Adrian, told the Herald Tuesday that they did not think Louis was in the gang. Ryder said Monday that there was no evidence of gang activity in connection with the case.

“We’ll continue the search to give the family some sense of understanding that we’re giving it our best attempt to find out if the young man is there or not,” the commissioner said Monday afternoon.

Luis said his biggest fear is finding his son dead, as he began to cry. “On TV you see stuff like this,” he said. “You never think it’s going to happen to yourself.”

Matthew Donofrio contributed to this story.

Editor's note: A previous version of the story incorrectly had Louis Germosen's father's name as Louis.