Body of Robert Sherman, missing since last week, found in Huntington

By BERA DUNAU

Staff Writer

Published: 02-16-2022 5:46 PM

HUNTINGTON — A body believed to be that of Robert Sherman, who was last seen Feb. 7, was discovered Tuesday afternoon in the vicinity of Norwich Lake.

According to the Northwestern district attorney’s office, the body was found about 75 yards from a logging trail off Norwich Lake Road in a heavily wooded area in Huntington. No foul play is suspected at this time and the identity of the body is being confirmed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Sherman, 79, of Chesterfield was last seen in Westfield on Feb. 7 and the rental vehicle he was driving was found stuck in the snow near 230 Norwich Lake Road on Feb. 9.

Sherman’s disappearance mobilized a large volunteer response and attracted significant public attention across the Hilltowns, with Sherman’s stepchildren Merle O’Neal and Dan Lake heavily involved in the effort to find him.

“He was a father figure to both of us,” O’Neal said Wednesday from her home in Los Angeles.

She said that Sherman was an outdoorsman and avid reader, and she wished he could have seen how hard people looked for him.

“We have closure now,” said Lake, of Falmouth. “Not knowing was probably the hardest thing.”

Lake said that Sherman will be missed, particularly by his grandchildren. He said his own daughters affectionately referred to Sherman as “Boppy.”

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O’Neal said that she was moved by the kindness of people in the search for Sherman.

“The outpouring of love has honestly carried us through this time,” she said. “Both strangers and friends and family have made it livable and tolerable.”

Sherman moved from Cape Cod to the Hilltowns in the early 2000s in part because it was a good area to ride horses, O’Neal said. She also said that he loved the nature and wilderness of the area.

O’Neal paid tribute to her stepfather in a post on Instagram, and thanked those who tried to find him.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who shared Bob’s photos, sent me words of reassurance, sent me meals, kept me safe, and called endless phone numbers in the hopes of finding him,” wrote O’Neal, in part of her post on Instagram. “Bob, thank you for this one last gift before you had to go. Through this experience I have witnessed true human kindness, it exists out there in those we know and don’t know. It’s important to remember that now more than ever.”

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.]]>