Body of missing Dartmouth student found in Connecticut River

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Eric Francis

Foul play not suspected at this point

HANOVER, NH - The body of missing Dartmouth senior Adam Wright, 21, was found frozen into the ice along the shoreline of the Connecticut River early Tuesday morning by a college employee, Hanover Police Chief Charles Dennis announced Tuesday afternoon.

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    Wright, who is from Pennsylvania, was a member of the Class of 2017 and had been reported missing on Monday after he failed to return to his residence on campus or show up for classes during the day Monday.

    His last known whereabouts were near the main library in the center of the campus just after midnight Sunday where, during the first minutes of Monday morning, a surveillance camera captured an image of him walking in a seemingly normal manner through the area, Chief Dennis explained.

    During the early stages of the search effort police had Wright's cellphone "pinged" and it returned one signal that indicated it was somewhere near the college's boathouse but an initial search of that area did not yield any clues.

    Knowing that a public appeal for information had been made late Monday, a college employee who normally works in the boathouse area took a walk up the bank of the Connecticut River first thing on Tuesday morning.  After walking about 75 yards north of a building known as the "Tom Dent Cabin" along a trial that runs beside the river the employee spotted some items that were alongside the river bank at the base of a steep embankment.

    The employee slid down the steep bank and spotted a backpack just off the shoreline frozen into the river ice before he returned and contacted authorities at around 9:30 a.m., the chief explained.

    Personnel from the Hanover police and fire departments responded to the spot, which all told is about 500 yards north of the Ledyard Bridge, and with the help of members of New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife chipped through the ice and found the backpack was in fact attached to Wright's body.

Adam Wright was a senior with the Class of 2017 at Dartmouth College

    Wright's body was transported to the New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Concord for an autopsy that will be performed later this week and detectives took the backpack which was frozen solid to the police station where it was still being slowly thawed on Tuesday afternoon.  Chief Dennis said police are interested to see if when they open the backpack they find the cellphone inside since it was not among the other items on the shoreline.

    Wright's cause of death is considered "undetermined" at this time and Chief Dennis said that may not change even after test results are completed in the coming months.  The chief noted there was no indication that anyone else had hiked out along the remote trail with Wright prior to his death.

    The chief also said no note was found and no one has come forward with any statements from Wright in recent days that would indicate he intended to harm himself, although the chief added "there were some vague indications" that Wright may have been suicidal. 

     "In situations like this we really can never know exactly what might have happened," the chief said of the tragedy.

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