Security footage shows Greenport man on night he disappeared

Michael O'Brien's truck remained at the Cross Sound Ferry terminal Friday morning. (Credit: Grant Parpan)
Michael O’Brien’s truck remained at the Cross Sound Ferry terminal Friday morning. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Security footage from the Cross Sound Ferry appears to show Greenport resident Michael O’Brien parking his car at the Orient terminal before walking east toward the beach area Sunday evening, police and family members said Friday.

He has not been seen since. 

Southold Town police chief Martin Flatley said the “brief glimpse” of footage indicates that Mr. O’Brien, 55, did not board a ferryboat even though he left his pickup truck in the first row of parking at the terminal.

“We’re fairly confident that he walked away from that vehicle but did not get into any other vehicles,” Chief Flatley said.

The chief said police did not spot the truck when they first checked the ferry parking area Monday after Mr. O’Brien’s wife, Mary, reported him missing that day. Ms. O’Brien said family and friends who had been searching for the missing man checked the ferry parking lot on multiple occasions and also did not initially see the vehicle.

Ms. O’Brien said Friday that the security cameras — which Mr. Flatley said were checked by police after the car was spotted at the terminal Thursday — show her husband pulling into the parking spot about 10 minutes after he left his house Sunday. Chief Flatley said the footage, which was recorded at night, is dark, but police have no reason to believe it is not Mr. O’Brien.

Additional footage recorded at Cross Sound Ferry and the adjacent Plum Island ferry terminal, which has a camera at the tip of the point, do not appear to show Mr. O’Brien, the chief said.

Using boats, a helicopter and all-terrain vehicles, police searched the “entire point” Thursday, including the surrounding park area and beaches, Chief Flatley said.

“We covered it very thoroughly and came up with nothing,” he said.

Choppy water around the point restricted search efforts to land areas Friday, the chief said.

“Today was difficult,” he added. “We wanted to get out on our boats, but there was a four-or-five foot swell out there today.”

The town’s bay constables do expect to search by boat again Saturday and Plum Island officials are expected to assist in that effort, he said.

Mary and Michael O'Brien. (Courtesy photo)
Mary and Michael O’Brien. (Courtesy photo)

Ms. O’Brien previously told The Suffolk Times her husband left their Front Street home quietly and without warning at about 7:20 p.m. Sunday.

“He’s been very depressed,” Ms. O’Brien said. “It was not anything domestic. He was very quiet. He came upstairs and asked me for something and he left, and that was it. No storming off. No anger. He’s just been depressed.”

Chief Flatley said Mr. O’Brien has no prior medical issues.

Ms. O’Brien said her husband left without cash or his debit card, but she wasn’t sure if he was carrying identification, adding that he could have left it in his car.

Though Mr. O’Brien’s truck had OnStar tracking services, the account wasn’t active, Chief Flatley said. Police contacted Southampton Town police, since Mr. O’Brien’s brother lives in that town, but police there were unable to locate him.

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