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Death of Hiker at Kaaterskill Falls

Report or discuss current events in the Catskill Mountains.
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Location: Acra New York

Death of Hiker at Kaaterskill Falls

Unread post by dave »

Town of Hunter in Greene County New York - Kaaterskill Falls


NOTES: There are several conflicting facts concerning this story.

On April 22, 2021, Jesse Ritholz, 36-years-old from Yonkers New York, rented a black BMW 330 and drove to Kaaterskill Falls. At an unspecified date and time, he fell off the top of the falls and hit his head on the rocks in the middle basin. He ended up in the water in the middle basin, where his body was underwater for 7-to-8 days.

On April 24, 2021, Jesse Ritholz was scheduled to visit his parent's home. But, he never showed up.

On April 27, 2021, Jesse's father, Mr Ritholz, visited his son's apartment and found nothing unusual at the apartment with the exception that he wasn't there. The New York State Police were then contacted to help find their missing son. The New York State Police conducted an investigation to the disappearance of Jesse Ritholz. They discovered that he had rented a black BMW 330 during the previous week. The New York State Police put out a notice statewide that the Black BMW was wanted in the investigation of the disappearance of Jesse Ritholz.

On April 30, 2021, a trooper from the New York State Police ("K" troop), found the Black BMW 330 in the DEC parking lot at the bottom of Laurel House Road. At that point the following agencies and people were called in to search, and later recover Jesse Ritholz body:

New York State Police Officers
New York State DEC Ranger Bink, Ranger Fox, Ranger Gullen, Ranger Martin, Ranger Mitchell, Ranger Petit, and Ranger Slade
New York State Police Aviation
New York State Underwater Recovery Team
New York State Bloodhound
Greene County Sheriff’s officers
Greene County Dive Teams
New York State DEC Drone (Ranger Martin)
Haines Falls Fire Department
Tannersville Fire Department
Greene County Coroner

During the search on April 30, 2021, DEC Rangers found items they believed belonged to Jess Ritholz near the middle basin of Kaaterskill Falls. The area of the search then changed to the middle basin of Kaaterskill Falls. Dive teams from the NYS Police and Green County Sheriff searched the waters in the middle basin and located Jesse Ritholz deceased at the bottom of the middle basin. Jesse Ritholz was carried to the Trailhead where he was transferred to the Greene County Coroner. The Greene County Coroner transferred Jesse Ritholz to Ellis Hospital, which is located in Schenectady, New York.

The primary cause of death is listed as a head injury from hitting the rocks surrounding the middle basin of Kaaterskill Falls. The investigation was continued at that point. But, it is believed that he fell off the upper rim of Kaaterskill Falls, and fell 167' feet to the rocks around the middle basin.

Kaaterskill Falls total height is 231' tall. The upper falls are 167' high. Humans can survive falls into water up to 100'. Over the past 200 years over 200+ people have died falling off Kaaterskill Falls. One very lucky person survived falling off the upper Falls about 10+ years ago. Two dogs have survived over the past 200 years.

Very sad outcome for Jesse Ritholz's family.

Middle Basin of Kaaterskill Falls - Upper part of the Falls, which are 167' high

View from the top of Kaaterskill Falls - Photo by Richard Kugel
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