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Autopsy: Austin Colson Was Shot in the Head, Death Ruled a Homicide

  • Austin Colson



Valley News Correspondent
Monday, June 04, 2018

Norwich — The 19-year-old Royalton man whose body was found off Beaver Meadow Road in Norwich last month after he mysteriously disappeared in January was shot to death, according to his death certificate.

Austin Colson died after suffering “gunshot wounds (to the) head” and was shot by another person, according to the death certificate released on Monday.

His death was classified as a homicide by Dr. Elizabeth A. Bundock, Vermont’s chief deputy medical examiner.

Colson’s remains were found at the Norwich property after investigators searched an large dilapidated barn at 714 Beaver Meadow Road, according to Vermont State Police. Meanwhile, the death certificate put his place of death as “woods (place found),” and the date of death as January 2018.

It was unclear why there were inconsistent references for where the body was found.

Colson went missing on Jan. 11, the day his family members said he was scheduled to collect scrap metal with White River Junction resident Richard Whitcomb Jr., 38, who has been named in federal court paperwork as a suspect in Colson’s disappearance.

The trailer the pair was going to use to haul scrap was found abandoned on Downer Road in Sharon the following week.

Whitcomb recently pleaded not guilty to two federal felony charges for firearms. He is accused of carrying and using a .32-caliber Colt pistol as collateral in a cocaine trafficking deal involving Colson in January and with possession of that handgun on Jan. 16, after having been convicted of a felony — aggravated domestic assault in Windsor County.

He was initially held, but was later released on conditions, including that he check into Valley Vista, a drug treatment center in Bradford, Vt.

He has since been released and returned to the community, Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill said.

Federal court records show Whitcomb is required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and remain inside his residence except for certain appointments, including for doctors visits, meeting with his lawyer or appearing in court.

Whitcomb also was ordered not to leave Vermont and refrain from possessing or using alcohol or any dangerous weapons.

Whitcomb is due in Vermont Superior Court in Hartford on Tuesday, June 19, to face a fraud charge, officials said.

He is charged with cashing a $3,000 check to build a deck for a Hartford man but never following through with the job, according to a police affidavit.

Colson played soccer, basketball and baseball at Hartford High School and was self-employed with his business — “A + C Painting.”

He lived with his girlfriend, Katie Grizzaffi, in South Royalton when he disappeared.

A dedication of the grave service was scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Branchview Cemetery in South Royalton.

A funeral service is planned for 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in South Royalton.