ORONO, Maine — The search for a local teenager who had been missing for about two weeks ended Wednesday afternoon when his body was found along the railroad tracks on Ayer’s Island.
Collin Bates, 19, was found at 4:49 p.m., and had committed suicide, Orono Police Chief Gary Duquette said Thursday.
“It’s been a long  days,” Duquette said.
Bates last was seen alive around Aug. 26. The young man was reported missing by his parents after they were unable to reach him and found his wallet, keys and cell phone at a friend’s place where he was staying.
Orono police officers, including a canine unit, and Down East Emergency Medicine Institute began searching the town and surrounding areas for Bates on Sept. 4, Orono police Sgt. Scott Wilcox said.
Down East Emergency Medicine Institute is a nonprofit, all-volunteer search and rescue team that uses airplanes equipped with cameras to take photos of the ground that are reviewed by volunteers.
“They are a fantastic organization,” Wilcox said of DEEMI. The search and rescue team “most certainly was” instrumental in finding Bates, he said.
Julie Jones of Brewer and her yellow Labrador retriever, Quincy, joined the search as a volunteer from V K9 Scent Specific Search and Recovery, Wilcox added.
“That is an amazing canine team,” he said.
Bates, a versatile athlete who was a running back for the Orono Red Riots while in high school, also ran for the track and field team and was a basketball player. He graduated from Orono High School in 2008.
On more than one occasion, Bates was selected as the High School Player of the Week by the Bangor Daily News for his skills on the football field.
Orono students and athletes were so upset by the news that a Thursday boys soccer game between Orono and Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford was postponed until Friday.