Angler’s body found at Glendale

Fisherman had been missing for 16 days

Mirror photo by William Kibler / The body of fisherman Larry Gontero of Luthersburg, Clearfield County, was found Saturday in this area of Glendale Lake at Prince Gallitzin State Park in Patton near the Beaver Valley boat launch — not far from where Gontero apparently fell into the lake from his fishing boat on June 22.

PATTON — The body of the Glendale Lake fisherman who had been missing for 16 days and presumed drowned was found late Saturday afternoon at Prince Gallitzin State Park.

The body was found floating within 100 feet of where authorities thought he’d fallen from his boat near the Beaver Valley launch on June 22.

He was identified publicly for the first time as Larry Gontero, 67, of Luthersburg, Clearfield County.

Rangers searching from a boat saw the body in 39 feet of water at 5:55 p.m., about half-a-mile upstream from the dam, which is near Glendale Junior & Senior High School, officials said.

An autopsy will be performed today at ForensicDx in Windber to determine the cause of death, which does not appear to be suspicious — although the Cambria County Coroner’s Office and state police will investigate, Coroner Jeff Lees said.

Authorities thought they knew where Gontero entered the water based on an analysis of the path traced by the fish finder GPS aboard Gontero’s approximately 14-foot Bass Tracker, according to Park Manager Jessica Lavelua.

The track shows the boat veered suddenly not far from where it was found broadside near the shoreline around the launch site, where Gontero started out that day, after which he’d traveled upstream to near the dam, downstream well past the launch, then most of the way back again, according to Lavelua.

Authorities don’t know why he apparently fell out of the boat, Lees said.

When rangers found the body Saturday, they called Lees and obtained permission to retrieve it from the lake, Lees said.

Authorities expected the body to surface around the time it did based on how long it takes for decomposition gases to form and make it buoyant.

More than 200 people helped in the search for Gontero, including dive teams, water rescue teams, members of fire companies, anglers and others, Lavelua said.

Members of Gontero’s family were at the lake for the past several days and helped as much as they could, Lees and Lavelua said.

Gontero was an avid fisherman and member of a crappie club, and the fishing community “came together” to search, many using their fish finders to try to locate the body underwater, Lavelua said.

Local business and families — about 100 individuals — brought food, water and ice to the launch area for the searchers throughout the effort, Lavelua said.

The first few days after Gontero went missing, park management shut down the Beaver Valley launch site, Lavelua said.

As July 4 approached, they opened the site to tenants of the marina, she said.

Today, it is open to everyone again.

Facilities upstream of the launch, including Crooked Run Campground never closed, Lavelua said.

“This will bring closure to the family,” Lees said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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