SANATOGA PA – The search for elderly Lower Pottsgrove resident Harold P. “Harry” Leister, who was reported missing last Thursday (Feb. 4, 2016) from his West Woodland Drive home, has ended tragically, township Police Chief Michael Foltz confirmed Tuesday (Feb. 9) shortly before 1 p.m.
Foltz reported the body of the 93-year-old man, whom neighbors and friends recalled in Facebook comments as gentle and frequently smiling, was found inside his car discovered “completely submerged” at a boat ramp to the Schuylkill River along South Penn Street in Pottstown, near the Pottstown Quoit Club.
Because of the location, the investigation into Leister’s death is being led by the North Coventry Township Police Department and the Chester County Coroner’s Office, Foltz added. As of early Wednesday morning (Feb. 10), neither had issued statements about the case or their preliminary determinations. The Lower Pottsgrove department is working in a supportive role, according to the chief.
North Coventry police were alerted Tuesday shortly after noon by a passer-by who said the top of a white car could be seen protruding from the river surface, according to reporting by Marian Dennis of The Pottstown Mercury. Divers were called in from Phoenixville, and the Linfield Fire Department’s Marine 51 unit also responded.
Leister had been known to be driving a white Buick-brand sedan at the time of his disappearance. Once it was pulled from the water and the body of the missing man was found, first responders respectfully covered the vehicle with orange-colored tarps.
Lower Pottsgrove’s department had regularly reminded its Facebook readers that Leister was missing, and actively sought public help in locating him. Among those appreciating its effort was Leister’s granddaughter, North Carolina-based and nationally known Christian women’s ministry speaker Jackie Oerther.
“Please continue to share this and we would covet your prayers for Grandaddy as we have yet to find him,” Oerther wrote Sunday (Feb. 7) on Facebook.
“Lower Pottsgrove Police and the family of Mr. Leister are extremely grateful for the outpouring of concern and tips that were provided by the public,” Foltz noted in a press release. “We appreciate the cooperation of the media during our investigation in assisting with getting the story out to the public.”