By Danielle Wallace
Published October 23, 2019
The U.S. Military Academy cadet whose disappearance before a scheduled skills competition triggered nearly a week of searches was found dead Tuesday evening, West Point officials said in a statement.
The four-year federal service academy announced early Wednesday that Kade Kurita, a 20-year-old from Gardena, Calif., was found dead Tuesday at 9:47 p.m. at the academy. No other details were immediately available.
“We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita’s family and friends,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, the academy's superintendent.
Kurita, who was identified as a member of the Class of 2021, had been unaccounted for since about 5:30 p.m. on Friday when he failed to report for a scheduled military skills competition on the academy grounds, located about 40 miles north of New York City. The cadet's M4 rifle also was reported missing, but officials said they did not believe the cadet had any magazines or ammunition in his possession. The military said there was no indication the cadet posed a threat to the public, but feared he could be a danger to himself.
The discovery Tuesday concluded an extensive series of searches conducted by West Point Military Police, New York State Police, Coast Guard, CSX railroad police, local police and the 23rd Military Police Company from Fort Drum, N.Y., the academy said in a news release.
“I would like to thank the N.Y. State police and the 23rd MP Company along with partners,” Lt. Gen. Williams said. “They exhibited exceptional professionalism as demonstrated by their tremendous efforts in searching for Cadet Kurita.”
Fellow cadets began to "immediately search" for Kurita when it became apparent he was missing, before military police were notified, triggering a probe of the military installation at 1 a.m. Saturday.
By Sunday, the search had expanded to the water, with the U.S. Coast Guard looking along the Hudson River's shoreline. New York State Police also deployed dive teams to probe the lakes and ponds on the West Point campus, according to officials. Railroad police also provided three working dogs to search along the tracks adjacent to the academy.