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Man makes plea for missing wife

An extensive and exhaustive search for a missing Summit Hill woman ended Monday, and the woman’s husband put out a plea on Facebook Tuesday morning.

Lilliana Colancecco, 33, was reported missing since 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

She is married to Luigi Colancecco and they have one child.

Luigi posted Tuesday morning, “Lily, if you somehow see this, I just want to tell you how loved you are and how so many people really genuinely care for you. Sunday I feel like everyone who had an off-road vehicle in the entire area and beyond, some even took off work and joined the search, I spoke with many of them and I could see their genuine concern.”

He said family members came from New Jersey to Pittsburgh to offer support as multiple departments searched for her. The post on Facebook about her disappearance was shared more than 1,500 times.

He continued, “Lily I don’t believe you are in the woods anymore, the dogs picked up your scent where the schoolteacher said he spoke with you, and led them to a dead end on the highway by the bridge.”

“Lily … Only God himself could express the amount of love I have for you, and our beautiful daughter is crazy about you and we both #1 just want to know you’re safe and when you’re ready come home! I will wait for you as long as it takes no matter what!” he concluded.

Reports indicated she was last seen on Sunday in the vicinity of the Lansford baseball fields off East Patterson Street, Route 209.

Kevin Steber, emergency management coordinator for Summit Hill, said “no substantial information was found” that indicates she is in the area that was searched.

“There will be no resumption” of the search, he said, unless new information is revealed on her potential whereabouts.

Over 120 volunteers from 26 different agencies participated in the search, Steber said.

“This was the largest multi-jurisdictional search in my 30 years as a firefighter,” he said. Besides being EMA coordinator in Summit Hill, he is also a member of the Diligence Fire Company in Summit Hill.

Members of the Summit Hill Fire Department and other local volunteers conducted an informal search on Sunday for Colancecco without success.

As a result, a more coordinated search got underway Monday.

Mark Nalesnik, Carbon County EMA Director, said the search was conducted by members of eight fire departments, various police agencies including the Pennsylvania State Police, who used state police helicopters, three search and rescue dog units, drones, dozens of ATVs and individual volunteers. The search and rescue dog units included Northeast Search and Rescue of East Stroudsburg, Wolf Pack Search and Rescue of Allentown and Pa. Search and Rescue of Denver, Lancaster County.

At one point, there was a flicker of hope when it was thought one of the dogs picked up a scent. Another dog was sent to the location and the scent wasn’t confirmed.

Steber and the Summit Hill Police Department coordinated the search.

The Lehigh and Lausanne Fire Department provided a rehab unit in which they provided the searchers with pizza, water and other refreshments.

Nalesnik said officials of the Deep Mining office of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection came to the scene.

Officials checked a mine shaft in the area, but found nothing.

The command post for the search was established in the parking lot of Panther Valley High School. David McAndrew, the new superintendent of the Panther Valley School District, also delivered bottles of water and ice to the volunteers.

Searchers vigorously searched the area on both sides of Route 209 between Andrewsville and the high school.

The search was incessant despite temperatures over 90 degrees with high humidity throughout much of the afternoon.

Steber said some of the locations were searched four times, without any clues found as to Colancecco’s whereabouts.

He praised the support he got from the volunteers who helped with the search.

“I would just like to thank all the organizations involved,” he said. “Our prayers go out to the family.”

Nalesnik also complimented those who searched, especially the firefighters.

“I always say the volunteer fire departments are the backbone of the country,” he said. “They come out and do whatever they are asked and do an extraordinary effort. Without them, we wouldn’t have enough manpower to do this operation.”

Stu Mauros of Northeast Search and Rescue, East Stroudsburg, leads his search dog Exepnathos along a wooded area next to the Lansford baseball fields during search Monday for a missing Summit Hill woman. Behind Mauros and assisting in the search are Mark Olding of Summit Hill and Becca Gt of Northeast Search and Rescue. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS