2017-04-07 / Front Page

Police say missing meteorologist died in apparent suicide

By LIZ GOTTHELF
Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH  — The search for local meteorologist Tom Johnston, who was reported missing Monday after he failed to return from a trip to Sunday River,  ended in Auburn Thursday night with the discovery of his body, Auburn Police said in a statement.

"Any suspicion of foul play has been ruled out and the investigation is focused on an apparent suicide," Auburn Police said in a brief statement.

His body was discovered with the assistance of the Maine Warden Service. The police said no further information would be released until the completion of an autopsy today by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Old Orchard Beach Police on Thursday afternoon asked for the public's help in finding Johnston.

A meteorologist for WCSH 6 in Portland, Johnston left Old Orchard Beach early Saturday morning to attend a function at Sunday River Ski Resort and did not return home or to work, said Old Orchard Beach Police Captain David Hemingway. 

Johnston was reported missing early Monday morning by his significant other, who lives with the meteorologist in Old Orchard Beach, said Hemingway. 

He said Johnston may have had some contact with family or friends over the weekend.

WCSH 6 talked about Johnston in a news story this morning and said he would be missed.

They said Johnston had worked for WCSH 6 for the past three years, most often appearing on the 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekday newscasts. He had gone to Sunday River Ski Resort early Saturday to emcee the Springfest event.

 "Later that night he was out with friends and family and told a family member he was heading back home Sunday," WCSH 6 told viewers. "When he didn't show up by Monday morning, his girlfriend filed a missing persons report."

"Tom loved to forecast and loved his job," the news station told viewers. "He was at his best broadcasting or doing Facebook live shots in the middle of a blizzard."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For help and more information, call 1-800-273-8255.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.


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