NORTH WATERBORO — A dozen Maine game wardens and more than 300 volunteers searched all day Saturday for a missing teenage boy, but found no trace of him.
However, Lt. Adam Gormely of the Maine Warden Service said he remained upbeat despite the fact that 15-year-old Jaden Dremsa has been missing since Thursday afternoon and was wearing only blue jeans, a shirt and sneakers when he was last seen near his family’s home in the Twin Pines Trailer Park in North Waterboro.
“A 15-year-old human body is very resilient and we’re still very confident we’ll find him,” Gormely said as searchers were called in early Saturday evening. Tracking dogs would remain out until early Sunday, Gormely said, in the hope of picking up Dremsa’s scent, and wardens and volunteers would resume looking at 8 a.m. Sunday.
Gormely said searchers have concentrated on the wooded, hilly grounds around the trailer park, meticulously going over the area within a 1½-mile radius Dremsa’s home on foot and by all-terrain vehicles. Boats were used to check nearby Lake Arrowhead. Aircraft were grounded by rain and low clouds Saturday morning, but by afternoon, conditions had improved enough to allow a warden service plane to join the search for a few hours. Gormely said he hoped to have a helicopter from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which was used Friday, added back to the effort Sunday.
Dremsa’s friends were interviewed Saturday, but Gormely said they weren’t able to provide any information that allowed wardens to refine the search area. Dremsa has Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism characterized by difficulty with social interaction and non-verbal communication, but Gormely said the teenager is considered high-functioning and the fact that he has the disorder hasn’t led wardens to alter their search tactics.
The warden asked North Waterboro residents to check outbuildings, garages and campers in case Dremsa went into one of them to escape light rain and cool temperatures Friday night and Saturday morning. The teenager is 5-foot-9 and has shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes.
Gormely also asked landowners to cooperate with the efforts to find Dremsa, saying “a few” had complained about searchers crossing private property.
Dremsa’s family was at the Lakeside Community Church on Saturday.
Gormely, who briefed family members several times on efforts to find Jaden, said they were “doing remarkably well, holding up well,” although they said they didn’t want to speak publicly.
Wardens said they’ve had no indication that Dremsa ran away from home. They said he indicated he was going to take a walk and perhaps climb some trees.
Gormely said he had more than enough volunteers to help try to find the boy Saturday and had to tell some they probably wouldn’t be needed. He said he was unsure how many will be back Sunday because it’s Mother’s Day, but he hoped for another good turnout.
Gormely said the warden service values the volunteers, but coordinates them closely, with strict check-in and check-out times, to make sure no one gets lost or hurt trying to find Dremsa.
He said the community was also helpful by providing food for the searchers, and the church gave wardens free run of the building, which has a kitchen, showers and even a place for wardens to sleep overnight.
Sunday services at the church have been moved elsewhere because of the ongoing search, Gormely said.
Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: