By: Michelle Sigona/@michellesigona
“Heartbreaking for the family, we don’t like to see families in distress like that,” says Capt. Raul Camejo from Connecticut Department Environmental Protection’s Conservation Police Force (DEEP). Father’s day has come and gone since anyone has seen 33-year-old wedding photographer, Eric Langlois. He was last seen on June 11, when his pregnant wife Amber dropped him off at Lovers Leap State Park in Connecticut to retrieve his bike. Amber says Eric took a nasty spill the day before, hitting his head, cracking his helmet and losing his bike.
Candice Copella, a family friend, told me earlier, Amber dropped Eric off around 3:30 p.m., and they agreed she would to circle back around one hour later to see if he found his bike. Eric’s intentions were always to drive the bike back home, if it were in a solid condition to ride. When the day turned to dusk, Amber began to panic, that’s when Candice says Amber contacted authorities. When Amber reached out, police asked her to come down to their headquarters. They had some information to share.
According to Candice, authorities revealed to Amber they had been working in the area where Eric went missing earlier in the afternoon based on information from a 911 caller. The caller said she heard a man calling for help from the river. She tried to get to the victim, but couldn’t, that’s when she called police.
It’s possible that person crying for help was Eric, but that has not been verified. Earlier this morning, I spoke with Sarah Austin Lehberger who is a colleague and fellow photographer alongside Eric, she says, “No one has located the bike, the bike is not coming up in any of the sonar searches of the water. We have combed, I mean combed all of the trails, and footpaths and miles along the water way and we have not found any piece of this bike.”
One week later, Capt. Camejo says the intensity of the searching is reduced, but not completely suspended. Lake Lillinonah, the area where Eric was last known to be, is about 12-14 miles long and spans about 1,500 acres. Although investigators have scaled back some of their efforts, Eric’s friends and family remain strong.
On June 17, dozens of members from the community gathered to hold a candlelight vigil, according to a post on the Eric Langolis Facebook page, “Tonight’s vigil was like no other. People packed that bridge from all over. Candles lit , hearts open, stories shared, tears shed and A LOT of laughs. I’m sorry I didn’t have the courage to stand in front of everyone and share my stories of Eric. I just keep thinking my story through my head and how I would have shared it and as I do that, I feel myself laughing over them and I can sense him. Regardless, he knows I’m not much for public speaking and that standing back and soaking it all up is more my speed. Eric, They all came out for you tonight ” Dude”! We love you, and we miss you. We’re Bringing you home.”
Sarah also says there are no organized searches planned right now on a volunteer level, but what they are looking for are trained rescue and recovery personnel to assist in any capacity. Sarah says,
“Although the volunteer efforts are wonderful, we need trained rescue and recovery effort.” Eric and Amber’s friend, Candice Coppla told me this morning, “I cannot see this family sitting here another week or another month or years and not having any closure. That to me is unbearable. We need some help in that regards, and we still do feel like it is worth that to search for him on foot. Miracles happen every day, there’s no sign of him. You just have to believe he could be somewhere, hurt and needs our help.”
Eric’s wife, Amber, has not only taken to his website, Raw Photo Design, but also posted this, “Please Help Bring Eric Home. #findericlangolis.” She would also like for you to join their Facebook page which stays up-to-date chocked full of information.
Please contact DEEP if you have any information on this case: 860.424.3333