Autopsy: Hanover Man Died of ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ After Falling Near River

  • Stanley Myers (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/18/2018 1:51:10 PM
Modified: 12/19/2018 11:59:31 AM

Hanover — The death of a 91-year-old Hanover man whose body was found after a fall from a trail near the Connecticut River on Saturday morning was ruled accidental by the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office, according to Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis.

Stanley Myers, who lived at the Kendal at Hanover retirement community, died of “blunt force trauma to the trunk,” Dennis said on Tuesday afternoon. He said the medical examiner’s report listed Friday as the date of death, but didn’t provide a time.

Authorities said they were unsure how long Myers was alive following his fall down a steep embankment near the river off a trail on the Kendal grounds. Temperatures during the day on Friday were close to 40 degrees. New Hampshire Fish and Game Lt. James Kneeland said Myers could not be seen from the trail when the first search sweep was conducted.

Myers, who police said had issues with memory loss, failed to return from a walk he started at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, triggering an extensive search effort through the woods and trails off Route 10 north of downtown Hanover.

The staff at Kendal were notified of Myers’ disappearance around 3 p.m., and they immediately got to work searching for him in common spaces and on the property, Kendal spokesman Jeff Roosevelt said.

Police were called around 3:15 p.m., he said, and first responders joined the search in about 15 minutes.

Firefighters and police officers began with what are called “rapid searches,” where they quickly checked the trails and any other place Myers could be, Hanover Fire Chief Martin McMillan said.

When they didn’t find him, help was called in from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team and New England K-9 Search and Rescue, who established a search grid and began combing the woods.

“This was a group effort with a very significant number of people here,” McMillan said.

Snow covered most of the ground, and the steep terrain proved slippery for many searchers, who wore spikes to traverse the forest safely, Kneeland said.

As Friday night wore on, the temperature dipped down to 22 degrees from a high of 39 degrees earlier in the day, according to the National Weather Service.

With teams tiring, area officials decided to postpone the search around 11:30 p.m. But some searchers still were stepping off the trail around 1:45 a.m., Kneeland said.

“At that point, it’s hard to see, and the teams that had been out there since 5 p.m. were getting fatigued,” he said, adding the K-9 teams also required rest before daylight.

“There’s only so much you can do when it’s dark and icy,” Dennis added. “It’s just difficult to see. You can only see as far as a light may shine.”

The search resumed at daylight on Saturday, and a search team discovered Myers’ body at the bottom of a steep embankment just off of a trail near the edge of the river.

Kneeland said there was some evidence ahead of Tuesday’s autopsy results that Myers slipped and fell down the embankment, including a hat that was found partway down.

It’s too soon to tell whether there will be any policy changes at Kendal in response to Myers’ death, said Roosevelt, the retirement community’s spokesman.

Roosevelt said he hadn’t seen a formal report on the incident or the autopsy report on Tuesday afternoon, and pointed out that Myers was living independently at Kendal with his wife, Margaret.

“Not knowing the details (of Myers’ death), our focus is supporting the family,” Roosevelt said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at or 603-727-3223.

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