East Greenbush man found dead at Hannacroix Preserve

Jon Lathrop was an architect, father, and good friend. He was found dead at the Hannacroix Ravine Preserve in New Scotland on Wednesday.

NEW SCOTLAND — Jon Lathrop was stoic and kind, according to a longtime friend.

“He’d give you the shirt off his back,” said Carol Coogan.

After he was missing for days, Lathrop’s body was found by first responders at about 9 on Wednesday morning, an apparent suicide, according to Albany County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy William Rice.

The cause of death has not been determined by a medical examiner, although an exam is anticipated on Thursday, but Rice said that evidence indicated Lathrop committed suicide by using rope and a stepladder to hang himself, and had left two notes in his car. He said that there was no prior indication that Lathrop was suicidal and said that there have been no similar cases at the preserve before.

Lathrop, 55, of East Greenbush, was the project manager for an architectural firm in Delmar, according to Coogan, and was a father of two sons. “He was one of the most wonderful people I ever met,” she said.

According to East Greenbush Police Chief Christopher Lavin, Lathrop was last seen on Friday, May 25, when he left his home in East Greenbush for work. But Lathrop never arrived at work, and his family became so concerned that they contacted the police that afternoon, said Lavin.

Lathrop’s 2017 gray Toyota Camry was located on Tuesday, May 29, at the Hannacroix Ravine Preserve near Cass Hill Road in Clarksville, near the border with the town of Berne. That is where police began to focus their search, said Lavin.

Rice said that the East Greenbush Police had initially asked that the sheriff’s office check the Albany International Airport to find out if Lathrop had flown out of the area. But the sheriff’s office was tipped off to his whereabouts when a neighbor of the preserve called the police on Tuesday around 1 p.m. because Lathrop’s vehicle had been parked there for some time, said Rice.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the call around 1:09 p.m. on Tuesday, said Rice. The search for Lathrop was cut off that evening around 6 p.m. and was renewed the next day around 8 a.m., he said.

The search team consisted of 42 emergency responders from various departments, said Rice. This included the sheriff’s search-and-rescue team, criminal-investigations unit, drone unit, and emergency medical responders; the East Greenbush Police Department; and fire departments from Onesquethaw, Berne, East Berne, Shaker Road Loudonville, and Westmere, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

A senior investigator and drone operator from the sheriff’s office discovered Lathrop’s remains in a ravine by a creek that runs through the preserve, at least a mile from his car, said Rice.

“I think that where he was located was an area where he went to not be found … ,” said Rice. “It was quite a bit of distance off the trail.”

Lavin said that the cause of death has not yet been determined.

“We don’t want to speculate on what the medical examiner is going to find,” he said.

Coogan said she was shocked to learn of Lathrop’s apparent suicide. “He was very stoic … I did not see this coming,” she said.

Soon after Coogan, an artist who does weekly editorial cartoons for The Enterprise, met Lathrop in 1984, she mentioned in conversation that she would like to learn how to draw buildings from looking at the blueprints.

“The next time he stopped by, he brought blueprints from one of his jobs and spent time going over them with me and how an artist might create an image of what a building might look like from the blueprints,” she recalled. “That's the kind of guy he was.”

Lathrop had worked as project Manager at Keystone Architectural Services, on Delaware Avenue in Delmar.

“He has two sons, Nick and Matt, about the same age as my kids,” Coogan said. She and her husband “would run into him at our kids’ soccer games and hang out together and chat.”

Lathrop’s partner, Cara Benson, a writer, had put a photo of the two of them on Twitter on Saturday, asking for viewers to spread the news that he was missing.

“This is the love of my life, Jon Lathrop,” she wrote. Her photo shows the two of them, arm in arm, in front of a body of water, with the sun and the wind in their faces.


The telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and an online chat option is available at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

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