A group of New York Department of Environmental Conservation officers and K9s are being credited with finding Christopher Block, the subject of a manhunt in and around Skaneateles just after 8:30 am Friday after a 35-hour search for him.
Our reporter and photojournalist watched as police led him in handcuffs to a patrol car at the Skaneateles Country Club.
Watch the video below:
Block was wanted by authorities after he cut his ankle monitoring device while on parole. He was released in December 2018 after serving over 30 years for the rape and kidnapping of two women in Syracuse. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's Office called him an "extremely dangerous" parolee.
Police say Block cut off his monitoring device around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators found it in the area of Kane Ave. in Skaneateles around 10 p.m.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers with K9s were searching a wooded area near the country club when they found Block in a makeshift shelter, a spokesperson said.
Capt. James Boylan, Chief Environmental Conservation Officer for the Central New York Region, says two DEC officers trained in wildland searches, as well as two officers with K9s, began searching for Block at 7 a.m. Friday in the area where his ankle monitor was found.
"It's always a good place to start, the last known location," Capt. Boylan said.
Boylan says one of the officers came upon the lean-to and found Block sleeping inside. Officer John Ryan then called for the rest of the group.
Block wasn't armed, according to Boylan, but didn't immediately cooperate with the DEC officers, until the K9s arrived and started barking.
"I think that convinced Mr. Block that going with the program was probably in his best interest at that time," said Capt. Boylan.
The DEC officers detained Block until parole officers arrived to take Block into custody.
The "lean-to" shelter had trees and branches tied together and covered by a white tarp.
There was a lighter and signs of a fire.
Several pieces of trash surrounded the shelter, including an empty “Big Chill” plastic cup. Block did not appear to be under the influence when DEC officers found him, Capt. Boyland said.
According to a spokesperson from DOCCS, Block will now have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge to address his escape, which is a violation of the conditions of his parole.
The lack of notification of his disappearance by authorities raised concerns over the past 24 hours throughout CNY. A DOCCS spokesperson released a statement Friday defending the way they handled disseminating information about the search for Block.
“As part of the initial search strategy immediately following the GPS cut, notice to the public was limited so it did not cause panic or unduly compromise the early stages of the search and force the absconder to go deeper into hiding. Contrary to reported information and inaccurate public statements and tweets by certain local officials, all law enforcement agencies were duly notified via the National Crime Information Center," said Thomas Mailey, a NYDOCCS spokesman.
This story will be updated with more information as it comes into the newsroom.