This is so sad =( i feel for the family. Ellenville is such a small town i doubt they've ever had a murder or would know what to do if they did.
Maybe ask the State Troopers or Feds to get involved?
It's sad when local cops just fail and don't even want to go help people.
They take the job supposedly to protect and serve yet they eat donuts and can't even run 5 feet.
Sometimes the best bet is if they get a rookie in the department, he/she might be wanting to earn their stripes or at least care enough to try to solve.
Last case scenario is private detectives. It's hard as witnesses from that time period would have to be relocated if possible and questioned...
Those Ellenville cops make police look like a joke, it's sad and serves as a bad example.
Hopefully after the news airs it, they will get the ball rolling.
Do to the circumstances; walking off from friends after car got stuck in snow to go get help; it's possible he could have gotten hypothermia. Even attempted shelter -was there any caves nearby? I know upstate NY and the freezing winters.
It might be good to rule out the area with a dog search. especially the cave area. I don't believe this case to be a runaway.
Unfortunately at the time, the weather would have been unbearably rought and cold. It's possible Joseph got lost and got hypothermia. If a dog search could check the area surrounding and the caves it would make all the difference to bring Joseph home. I have been to Ellenville, and i know it was even more rural back then, it would be easy to get lost in a blizzard..
Good luck and Blessings to your family!