LEHMAN TWP. — On what would have been his 23rd birthday, the body of Adam Lutz — missing for a month-and-a-half — was removed from Lake Silkworth.
Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman confirmed it was Lutz, saying a family member positively identified the body.
Lutz, who was from Nanticoke, had been missing since Nov. 9.
On the last night he was seen, Lutz was driving around the area with a friend, police say.
Surveillance footage captured by a clubhouse on Route 29 across from Lake Silkworth shows Lutz pulling his car into the clubhouse parking lot, getting out and walking toward the lake.
That was the last time Lutz was seen alive.
On Nov. 13, after days of scouring the area around the lake, search crews said their search would be limited to the lake itself.
Lutz’s body was discovered Friday morning by State Police using a submersible imaging device, according to Lieutenant Gary Vogue of the Wyoming barracks.
Vogue said there had been an ongoing State Police presence at the lake since Lutz initially went missing. There had been several aerial searches of the lake from a helicopter each week since his disappearance.
“Today, we actually brought in our State Police Marine Patrol from Erie and Philadelphia,” Vogue said.
Friday was the first day the Marine Patrol was available, authorities noted.
The team, including Lehman Township Police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, began searching the lake with the remote-operated device equipped with both sonar and a camera. Searchers bored a hole into the ice covering the lake before lowering the device into the water.
Vogue said Lutz’s body was found around 10 a.m., after only about 20 minutes of searching.
Once the body was found beneath the ice, the dive team from the Germania Hose Company, based in Duryea, was dispatched to assist in the recovery.
Lisman could not comment on a possible cause of death for Lutz, saying an autopsy was scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday.
A representative from the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office was unable to confirm if any foul play was suspected, instead saying it was an ongoing investigation.
“The next logical step is an autopsy … we’ll make a determination from there,” said Deputy District Attorney Daniel Zola.
“We’re following all leads,” he added, not specifying what those leads might be.
Members of Lutz’s family did not comment, but Zola described Friday as a hard day for the man’s relatives.
“So near to Christmas, and on his birthday… it’s bittersweet,” Zola said.
Vogue extended gratitude to the police departments and search parties who helped bring the effort to a close.
“It’s been a long, diligent search,” Vogue said. “We just didn’t give up.”
Zola echoed that sentiment.
“Hopefully, this brings some closure for the family,” he said.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan