A missing emergency room doctor from Missouri whose body was found in northwestern Arkansas died from an apparent gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday, but they're still investigating what happened in the week since he was last seen.
A kayaker found the body of Dr. John Forsyth, 49, on Tuesday afternoon in a body of water in Benton County, the county sheriff’s department said in a news release. No further information would immediately be available, the department said. Authorities did not specify if the gunshot wound may have been caused by someone else or was self-inflicted.
Authorities had told family members on Tuesday that body had been found, his brother Richard Forsyth said in an interview that evening.
John Forsyth's vehicle was unlocked with his wallet, two phones, a laptop and other items inside, his brother said. Police told the family there were no signs of foul play. An autopsy and official identification were pending.
Bentonville is about 30 miles from where Forsyth’s car was found near an aquatic park in Cassville, Missouri, the town where he worked.
Messages left Wednesday with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol were not immediately returned.
The last known person who communicated with John Forsyth was the woman he'd recently gotten engaged to, who texted with him at around 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, his brother said.
Police say he was reported missing when he failed to show up for work May 21 at Mercy Hospital in Cassville, a town of 3,100 residents deep in the Missouri Ozarks.
The last time his brother saw John Forsyth was at dinner on Wednesday, May 17.
“I told him this is the happiest I’d seen him in a long time. His divorce was final May 11, and I think that gave him energy for the future,” Richard Forsyth said.
John Forsyth had worked at the Cassville hospital for about 15 years, his brother said, describing him as a doting father, part-time math nerd and dedicated physician who stayed in his RV near the hospital when he was on-call.
“He really cared about his patients,” Richard Forsyth said. “And he loved his kids.”
When the doctor's vehicle was found, several law enforcement agencies searched about a 9-mile (15-kilometer) radius around the aquatic park using people, dogs and drones. Forsyth's family set up a Facebook page seeking information.
“My brother has now been missing for week,” his sister, Tiffany Andelin, wrote Monday. “I’m grieving, I’m afraid, and it feels like the world has tipped into sheer chaos.”
Margaret Stafford, The Associated Press