Man’s body found in Stockton Harbor

Posted April 27, 2012, at 1:15 p.m.
Last modified April 27, 2012, at 3 p.m.

STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — The body of a man who is believed to have died sometime Thursday night, perhaps as a result of falling into the water while trying to climb aboard his sailboat moored in Stockton Harbor, was recovered by public safety officers early Friday.

The victim was identified as Thomas Edward Hoge, 64. He was a summer resident of the town and believed to live the rest of the year in Maryland.

Sgt. Jay Carroll of the Maine Marine Patrol said Friday a local fisherman observed Hoge’s car at about 6 p.m. Thursday parked at the Stockton Harbor boat launch and mooring area on the east side of the harbor. The area is known locally as Cape Docks, on the shore of Cape Jellison.

The fisherman was familiar with Hoge, and said Friday that he saw the man’s car, with Maryland license plates, again later Thursday night. The car was still parked at the landing at about 7 a.m. Friday morning, prompting the fisherman to call public safety officials.

On arriving at the harbor, public safety officers saw that a small skiff tied to the sailboat was overturned. The vessel was the only sailboat moored in the harbor in this early part of the boating season.

A state police diver searched under the sailboat, Carroll said, while others searched the shoreline. The body was found on the western shore at about 8 a.m. on the Searsport side of the harbor. Hoge had donned a personal flotation device, he said.

An autopsy will be conducted by the Maine medical examiner, Carroll said, to try to determine the cause of death. He speculated that the man could have fallen into the water and suffered hypothermia or may have had a medical problem that caused him to fall.

In addition to the marine patrol, the Coast Guard, Waldo County Sheriff’s Department, the Belfast harbor master, Maine Maritime Academy and the Stockton Springs fire and ambulance departments were involved in the search and recovery.