Police ID body in the Hudson River as missing Poestenkill Gorge hiker

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Police identified the body found in the Hudson River at the Albany Yacht Club as the missing Poestenkill Gorge hiker.

On February 25, 2017, Christian Joseph Rohr, 25, was hiking when he fell into the water.

“They moved the dock and a person just arrived, popped up, “said Albany Yacht Club Commodore John Bergmann.

It’s not every day you find a body in the Hudson River but Bergmann says that’s what happened Saturday morning.

“We’ve been established since 1873 and I’ve never from the older members heard of a story like this one yet. This was a first,” said Bergmann.

About eight to 10 club members were putting the docks in place when a few of them noticed a body float to the surface.

“They called me and they said get down here we’ve got a body and I looked and I said what are you talking about and I come out and I say oh no,” said Bergmann.

Rensselaer Police Detective Scott Earing says the report came in around 7:20 a.m. Upon arrival, they found a body in the area between the docks and the shore.

“It appears it’s been in the water for a pretty good period of time,” said Earing.

Rohr’s body had some decomposition and was partially clothed.

“For whatever timeframe it was in the water you know the clothing had deteriorated in portions,” said Earing.

The Poestenkill Gorge flows into the Hudson River and Earing says it’s possible for bodies to travel for miles.

“The water’s flowing really quick especially in the undercurrent and you know they can get down and hang out for a while and come back up,” said Earing.

The family released this statement:

We acknowledge with deep sadness the death of Christian Joseph Rohr, aged 25. Christian’s body was located on April 22, 2017 after he fell during a hiking accident on February 25, 2017. Christian was the son of Donald Rohr, Jr and the Rev. Laurie Garramone, and the brother of Alex Rohr. Christian was employed by The Ayco Company in Latham, NY, and he worked part-time for several years at Play It Again Sports, also in Latham, NY.

Christian was a December 2015 University at Albany grad with a degree in Business where he was on the Dean’s List of Distinguished Students, and he also received his Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Hudson Valley Community in 2013, graduating with Honors.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the following organizations who have been searching for Christian since his fall into the Poestenkill Gorge on February 25, 2017. These include, but are not limited to the following, with the names of those who specifically worked with us:

  • The Troy Police Department (Sergeant Michael Parrow)
  • The Troy Fire Department (Fire Chief Thomas Garrett)
  • The New York State Police (Captain Doug Keyer)
  • The New York State Police Dive Team (Trooper David Fisher, Jr, Senior Diver)
  • The New York State Regional Forest Rangers (Captain Stephen Preston)
  • The Rensselaer County Bureau of Public Safety (Mark Balistreri—911 Coordinator)

The men and women on these teams not only used their professional skills to look for Christian, they also cared for our family with great compassion while we waited, especially during the early days by the Poestenkill Gorge.  They have kept us informed throughout the search and assured us regularly that they always find the person they are looking for and they kept their word. We were also visited several times by the Mayor of Troy, Patrick Madden, and were impressed by his kindness to us. We are grateful beyond words for all the public servants who helped us during this difficult time.

We lost Christian on February 25th, 2017, a beautiful spring-like day, when he was hiking and fell into the Poestenkill River Gorge area in Troy, NY.  Christian could always be found outside in all weather conditions. He loved hiking in the Adirondacks, downhill skiing, ice hockey and skateboarding.  However, on that warm day, there was a rapid snow melt and strong river flow; the stream current in the Gorge was probably too powerful, even for an excellent swimmer and strong young man.  Since that singular spring day in February, we had two feet of snow, high winds, rain and cold winter conditions.  Although searching has been difficult, the Troy Fire Chief, Thomas Garrett, called whenever the weather allowed continued recovery efforts.

Christian was recovered from the Hudson River on the morning of April 22nd and identified at the Rensselaer Medical Examiner’s office.  While we are thankful for Christian’s recovery, new grief has visited all of Christian’s friends and family that reminds us again of the depth of our loss. And so, while It has been difficult to search, it has not been too difficult to pray; Christian’s immediate family has been in continuous prayer for his return and friends from all over the world joined us in those prayers.

Christian was born on All Saint’s Day in (Nov. 1, 1991), baptized on Pentecost, and confirmed in the Christian faith. We are confident that he is in God’s gracious care now.

Special thanks are extended to our church communities: Christ Church in Ballston Spa, NY and St. John’s Church in Johnstown, NY for their ability to pour so much love, life and generosity into a place of sadness. The Rt. Rev William Love, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, has offered prayer from the first days of Christian’s accident through this time of recovery, and we are thankful for his pastoral care.

As we have sorted through Christian’s belongings, we have been struck by his honest and uncomplicated life.  Playful pictures with friends and family.  A love for the outdoors, and for skiing and hiking.  A sincere desire to do good things in the world.  He was a great cook and we all enjoyed nights when he was head chef.  He was joyful and made people laugh easily. And he had a degree of generosity that warmed our hearts.  Those who were fortunate to count him as a friend know that he was a loving and genuinely kind soul.  Our lives are forever changed by this loss, and we will carry a love for Christian all our remaining days.   We will always picture Christian with his broad smile, ready for the next adventure.

A funeral of Christian burial will be held at Christ Church, Ballston Spa on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 11 a.m. Calling hours will be at the Christ Church on Friday, May 12th from 5 to 8 p.m.

The family of Christian Rohr:

Donald F. Rohr, Jr, the Rev. Laurie M. Garramone and Alexander Rohr

The Rensselaer Police Department and Troy Police Department investigated with the Rensselaer County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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