Watch CBS News

Illinois police looking for missing U.S. Navy sailor last seen leaving bar near Lake Michigan

Mother holds out hope for U.S. Navy sailor missing since Saturday
Mother holds out hope for U.S. Navy sailor missing since Saturday 02:17

Police in Illinois are looking for a 21-year-old member of the U.S. Navy who was last seen on surveillance video leaving a bar near Lake Michigan in the early morning hours on Saturday, CBS Chicago reports.

Seamus Gray, a sailor who was assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes, did not report back at his assigned time, according to Waukegan police. Gray's family and police continued the search Thursday.

Seamus Gray Waukegan Police

Waukegan police Deputy Chief Brian Mullen said the search wrapped early on Thursday because resources had been exhausted after numerous passes on land and air. The search is resuming Friday, Mullen said.

Crews are focusing on the Lake Michigan shoreline and beaches, Mullen said. Search efforts on Friday will focus on their efforts on the water and south -- toward the naval base.

"I also want to emphasize the search didn't just start today," Mullen said. "We were out here all day yesterday, and with the advances in technology and all the drones that we had up in the air and the lack of foliage up in the air this time of year, we had a really nice ability to see - to cover the ground yesterday and re-cover the ground today."

Gray's mother is holding out hope that her son will be found.

"We're never not in contact," said Kerry Gray. "The only time I've ever not heard from my son was when he was in bootcamp. We talked 10 times a day, whether it's silly memes, whether it's just texting."

Police and family said Gray left Naval Station Great Lakes on Friday night and headed down to Waukegan for a night of St. Patrick's Day celebrations. 

"He sent me pictures. We were on FaceTime," Gray said. "While I was out for St. Patrick's Day, he was out."

Detectives found video surveillance footage of Gray leaving Ibiza Bar on Genesee Street in Waukegan. 

Seamus Gray

At approximately 2:00 p.m. on March 21, officers from the Waukegan Police Department’s Patrol Division were contacted regarding a missing person. Waukegan Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division began to investigate in an attempt to locate Seamus Gray, who had not been seen since the early morning hours of March 18. Detectives determined Gray, a member of the United States Navy assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes, did not report back at his assigned time. The investigation led detectives to locate video surveillance of Gray leaving a bar on Genesee Street in Waukegan where he was subsequently identified on video at the intersection of Sheridan Road and Washington Street in Waukegan at approximately 1:40 a.m. on March 18. Gray has not been seen or spoken to since leaving the bar. The Waukegan Police Department and the Waukegan Fire Department conducted an extensive search of the area Gray was last seen, and the surrounding area including the lakefront. This investigation is open and active. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to submit a tip on the Waukegan Police Department tip app: iPhone Android Tips can also be submitted by calling the WPD “Tip-Line” at 847-360-9001, or by texting the keyword WPDTIP and their message/tip to 847411. Anonymous web tips can also be submitted via the department’s website at

Posted by Waukegan Police Department on Thursday, March 23, 2023

The video shows him leaving the bar alone through a back alley in a pink outfit, and he was later seen at the intersection of Sheridan Road and Washington Street around 1:40 a.m. on Saturday and has not been seen or spoken to since leaving the bar.

Mullen said it is believed that Gray was due back at his base at 2 a.m. but the sailor never returned to the Naval Base Great Lakes.

Waukegan police and fire personnel have done an extensive search of the area, including the lakefront. Gray's mother also searched with police near Ibiza Bar and along Lake Michigan.

Video taken from nearby marinas later showed Gray right on the water's edge on the lake, Mullen said Thursday afternoon.

Mullen said police are no longer seeing any activity from Gray's cell phone, which last pinged near the lake. But police and his family are holding out hope. 

"We know he's in excellent shape, and we're very hopeful that he could be out there someplace," Mullen said.

Investigators in Waukegan are calling the case a missing persons case, which also involves the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS.

But Kerry Gray added there is also video from when someone tried to pickpocket her son, and then there was an altercation with a group of people. The bar manager corroborated the story about the 21-year-old getting into an altercation over his wallet.

"We're investigating that," Mullen said. "We're aware of the video outside of the bar, and our investigators are working with NCIS to help identify people who might be on that video."

Gray's mother said over the phone that she fears the worst for her son – especially with so many days passing – and given the fact that he has not checked into the naval base and no one has heard from him.

"I'd like anybody who has any information about my son Seamus to please come forward," said Kerry Gray. "That's my boy. That's my guy. His little brother is 14. He is my son's role model. He's my life. So please help find Seamus."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.