RUMNEY — State officials are reviewing surveillance video of a possible sighting of a North Carolina man, missing here the past two weeks.
Hugh Armstrong, 72, of Clayton, N.C., who was on vacation with his family on Stinson Lake, went out for a morning walk July 25 and has not been seen since.
It prompted a massive search of the woods and water and, though scaled back, is still ongoing.
But on the morning he vanished, a man of similar description sat down for two eggs with no toast at the Common Cafe in the village, said owner Brian Paquette.
It was about 7 a.m. that morning and he sat alone in the back of the restaurant, paid cash, and when done shouldered a large backpack and began walking toward Route 25, said Paquette.
The main road is less than a mile from the cafe, at 2 Quincy Road.
Paquette said when he saw a photo of the missing man in the news “I said that is the guy who was in here this morning.”
He noted that he has a surveillance camera that captured that man's image and that officials took it.
State Police Detective Eric Piche confirmed Monday that his agency and state Fish and Game Department are in possession of a video but would not say from where it came.
“We are investigating this potential lead and have been in contact with the family,” Piche said.
David Converse of Rumney is a customer of the cafe and when he learned about the video, notified authorities.
On Monday he said he was just hoping the information might lead to some closure.
“I just want this to be over,” he said of the search.
Paquette said he could be wrong, “because I don't know the guy, but his physical description was the same.”
He said he still has the images of the man on his surveillance camera and they are “pretty good shots of him but I don't know him. If someone who knows him could see this they would be able to say “yeah” or “nay.”” Armstrong's family has returned home.
The images, Paquette said would be hard to reproduce by photograph but he noted that the officers used a thumb-drive to pull the images off the camera.
“I hope it's him because this family must be going out of their mind. ... it's bittersweet” but he said if it is him “they don't have to look in the woods, anymore.”
Fish and Game. Lt. Jim Kneeland has maintained he believes Armstrong is in the woods or water and has had almost daily contact with the family, whom he describes as very close.
He spent time last weekend continuing to search. He had Monday off and could not be reached.
The Armstrongs had previously visited Lake Sunapee but were unfamiliar with the area. They arrived at Hawthorne Village five days before his disappearance.
Family members told police he left a note at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday July 25.
When he did not return home in the morning, they began looking. A massive five-day search of the area involved dogs, boats, helicopters and hundreds of volunteers.
The family expressed deep thanks and appreciation to all the professional organizations, volunteers, and local folks who helped in the search and provided support to the family but returned home without Armstrong last Tuesday.
Armstrong is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds. He has brown-gray hair, gray eyes and wears glasses. He is thought to be wearing a white Red Sox hat, a red or blue T-shirt, and shorts.
Those who believe they may have seen Armstrong are asked to call 846-3333.