AUBURN, Maine — A body found in the Androscoggin River on Saturday afternoon is believed to be that of a local man missing since the start of April, police said.
Dan Doherty, 46, went missing the night of April 4, leaving his car, jacket and personal items near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge before presumably going in the river.
About 1:15 p.m. Saturday, a body was spotted floating in the river around Boxer Island, near North River Road in Auburn. Police and rescue crews retrieved it.
The body was sent to the Maine medical examiner’s office for identification, according to Deputy Chief Jason Moen of the Auburn Police Department.
The cause of death had not been determined Saturday.
Michele Cox, a friend of the missing man, said she was notified by Lewiston police about 6 p.m. that the body was likely Doherty’s. Police said they also notified Doherty’s parents, who live in the Woolwich area.
On the night of the disappearance, Cox was supposed to meet Doherty at Tim Hortons coffee shop in Auburn. Instead, he called her, distraught.
“He said he’d been poisoned two or three times,” Cox said in an interview shortly after the disappearance was reported.
Cox said it was unclear what Doherty meant by that. She said he had been distraught around the time that he vanished.
“He had a lot on his plate and was depressed,” Cox said, explaining that Doherty wasn’t able to see his daughter as much as he would have liked to.
Of her relationship with Doherty, she said, “We had helped each other through a lot of tough personal battles.” Cox said she received help in her search from people who did not even know Doherty, noting, “It’s pretty moving to have people reaching out to help me and Dan.”
The discovery on Saturday likely ends a long search that included Auburn, Lewiston and other local police agencies, the Maine Wardens Service and volunteers who have been scouring the riverbanks since Doherty vanished.
Lewiston police used boats to search the river and conducted an exhaustive search of the woods along the banks from Veterans Bridge to beyond the Second Street bridge.
Police said they expected to have a positive identification and cause of death sometime this week.