Three local residents and a dog were drowned in two separate accidents in Delaware County this week, the New York State Police announced Thursday morning. In both incidents, the victims apparently fell through thin ice and succumbed to hypothermia.
The first victim, 74-year-old Marvin Taub of Oneonta, was reported missing on the evening of Monday, December 30, after he failed to return from walking his neighbor's dogs at the Pine Lake campus of Hartwick College in Davenport. A search was organized, with state troopers, forest rangers, Hartwick College public safety officers, and Davenport fire and EMS personnel.
Taub's body was recovered from a frozen pond on the campus on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 31, after searchers found tracks leading to the pond. Delaware County medical examiner James Cooros examined Taub and declared the cause of death to be accidental drowning and hypothermia.
The dogs were found on the campus and returned to their owner, police said. The Daily Star contacted the dogs' owner, SUNY Oneonta professor Zanna McKay, who told the paper that Taub frequently took her dogs for walks on a favorite route.
“He had a favorite hike that he took, stopping to enjoy the meadow, the river, the woods and the lake,” McKay said. Taub had picked up the dogs at about 3 p.m. Monday, she said, and when she returned to her Oneonta home from dinner with friends, Taub hadn’t dropped off the dogs, and she called authorities.
“I was very worried,” McKay, a SUNY Oneonta professor in the education department, said. “He was a gracious and gentle man and his presence will be greatly missed."
In a separate incident earlier this week, a Harpersfield husband and wife and their German shepherd all drowned after falling through ice on their pond. The couple, 74-year-old Ira Landess and 71-year-old Nancy Klinger-Landess of 290 Quaker Hill Road in Harpersfield, were reported missing on Tuesday, December 31.
State police searched the area, and found a large ice hole in a pond on the couple's property, with a dog toy near the entrance of the hole. A search of the pond was carried out by New York State Police scuba divers.
Ira Landess's body was found around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The body of Nancy Klinger-Landess was found the following day around 1 p.m., along with the body of the dog. Both deaths were ruled by Cooros as the result of accidental drowning and hypothermia.