Missing Hampstead, New Hampshire, Man’s Remains Likely Found in Swampy Area
🔴 John Matson, 79, went missing in July from his home on Amy Lane in Hampstead
🔴 Earlier ground and air searches were unsuccessful in locating him
🔴 NH Fish & Game's new drone found what is believed to be his remains in an area with thick brush growth
The skeletal remains of John Matson, the Hampstead man who went missing in July, have likely been found in a swampy area off Route 111, thanks to a new NH Fish and Game drone program.
Matson, 79, who suffered from dementia, left his home on Amy Lane July 6 and never returned. New Hampshire Fish & Game and Hampstead Police organized "an extensive and strategic search" using K9 units, State Police helicopter, drones, line searches, and ATVs," according to Hampstead Deputy Police Chief Robert Kelley at the time.
The search continued in the fall with drones and K-9 searches. With the growth still thin, Hampstead Police organized yet another search on April 13 with Fish and Game, plus Derry Police Department, Pelham Police Department, Londonderry Police Department and New England K9 Search & Rescue, according to Kelley.
"The mystery of John Matson has weighed heavily on this community for the past 10 months. There was not a day that went by where Mr. Matson and his family were not on the minds of our community, this police department and many more," Kelley said in a statement.
NH Fish & Game Conservation Officer Rob McDermott returned to the area Saturday with the drone, which picked up what appeared to be skeletal remains and some clothing in an area near Emerson Avenue. Kelley said it would be difficult to access once trees and brush began to bloom.
"NH Fish & Game has only had their drone program in place for less than a month, and it has already proven to be a worthwhile investment," Kelley said.
Three Hampstead Police officers and two NH Fish & Game officers physically searched the area in heavy rain chest deep water and deep "mucky swamp beds" Sunday to locate the remains 500 feet from dry land. It took them three hours to cut through a dense forest wall with numerous bent-over trees to create a path to carry the remains out.
Kelley said the New Hampshire Medical Examiner's Office has the remains, and will make a positive identification. Based on the location and evidence found near the body, investigators believe there is a "high probability" the remains are those of John Matson.
No foul play is suspected in Matson's death.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH