NH search crew finds remains of long-missing hiker in remote wilderness area

William Donovan's drivers-license photo.

William Donovan's drivers-license photo. NH Fish and Game


Concord Monitor

Published: 05-14-2024 10:59 AM

The body of a hiker missing for almost a month was discovered in Dry River, apparently pinned under a boulder.

William Donovan, 65, of Cambridge, Mass, who was last seen April 16, was located by searchers who were directed to the search area after gear and a jacket believed to have belonged to Donovan were found over the weekend in the river by hikers. His body was found approximately 400 feet upstream from the jacket.

The initial search team comprised of conservation officers, and drone teams from Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), New England K9 (NEK9), and Upper-Valley Wilderness Response Team (UVWRT). The body was located just over 2.5 miles in from Route 302.

“The searchers worked for hours to extricate the body from beneath a large boulder. But due to the size of the boulder, freezing cold water temperatures and lack of tools required to move such a boulder, additional resources were called to assist. … Volunteers hiked in the extra tools and gear over 2.5 miles, then assisted in carrying Donovan’s body back out,” New Hampshire Fish and Game reported in a statement.

“It is not known what brought Donovan into the Dry River Wilderness and it is unknown how he entered the water, but it appears he likely was somehow forced off the ridge, likely due to high winds or adverse weather, between Mt. Monroe and Mt. Eisenhower during his hike and ended up in very difficult and desolate terrain of the Dry River Wilderness,” according to the statement.

The body was taken to the State Medical Examiners Officer in Concord for autopsy.

A search for Donovan began after it was reported that his car had been parked at the Crawford Path parking lot for more than two weeks.

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