April 22, 2019 11:09 AM
MOUNT MORRIS, N.Y. (WHEC) — Authorities in Livingston County say a body found in Mount Morris is James Lowery.
The 71-year-old was reported missing by friends last year from Springwater, about 20 miles away from where he was found.
People who knew Lowery say he didn't have a lot of relatives nearby so friends became family in the four years he lived in Springwater.
Cassandra Batzel, 19, met Lowery through her father. She remained friends with him even as she left for college.
"He just loved everybody so it didn't matter who you were he'd always be your friend," Batzel said. "He was so giving and funny too."
Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty says Lowery was found in a stream near Mill Street Friday afternoon.
"He has one of the most severe cases of schizophrenia and he had voices in his head," Batzel said.
Lowery had a history of wandering and mental illness. Leslie Rook, Batzel's mother, met Lowery at the diner where she worked. She and her family took him in.
"He said he wasn't going to go anywhere," Rook said. "He was comfortable here, he was actually talking about eventually going back to college."
Rook said Lowery was reported missing to authorities back in December.
"It's terrible the way it happened and it's terrible the way he was found, but Jimmy's at peace now," Rook said.
Laurie Serafine says Lowery's mother is in hospice and was given days to live. Before she dies, she wanted to know where he was.
"I feel a little bit of happiness because it's closure we know where he is," Serafine said. "But I think that everybody let him down."
Loved ones question why Lowery's case wasn't given more attention.
"You would think more would have been done and sooner," Batzel said. "If a young child goes missing, you see helicopters in the air. Why was it different because he's a 70-year-old man?"
Even though losing Lowery is hard, Batzel and other friends says memories of his laugh will get them through this loss.
"Long live his memory," Batzel said. "He wouldn't want me to be sad right now."
The results of the autopsy could take weeks to come back, but the Livingston County Sheriff's Office will continue investigating the circumstances surrounding Lowery's death.
Updated: April 22, 2019 11:09 AM
Created: April 20, 2019 11:37 PM
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