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October 29. 2013 8:29PM

Remains found during search for Abigail Hernandez may be of missing Conway man

NORTH CONWAY — As one missing persons case is actively being investigated by law enforcement agents in town, another is likely about to be solved.

While search crews were combing the woods near Cranmore Mountain Resort on Oct. 12 in the early days of the search for 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez, who disappeared after leaving school on Oct. 9, they came upon human remains of someone who authorities said had died several years ago.

State Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas A. Andrew said investigators are in the final stages of testing and obtaining medical records before making a firm declaration of finding in the case.

But they have a sole “person of interest” in the case, identified by Andrew as John Sweeney of Mechanic Street in Conway, who was 50 when he disappeared in 2006.

State and federal investigators say the case has no relation to the Hernandez missing persons case.

Sweeney disappeared on July 29, 2006, after leaving a note to his wife saying he was going for a walk in the woods, according to a report in The Conway Daily Sun.

The Sun reported that Sweeney was involved in a motor vehicle accident near his home prior to his disappearance. A motorcyclist was seriously injured in the crash, and Sweeney was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated and released pending an arraignment.

He was scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 22, 2006, but disappeared before his arraignment.

Andrew said there appears to be no foul play involved in the case. No cause of death has been established.

“Nothing has risen to the point of (police) investigators being interested,” Andrew said, declining to elaborate further on his medical investigation.

It appears that Sweeney just went for a walk and fell for some reason.

“That has been known to happen a fair amount in New Hampshire, more often than most people might think,” Andrew said.

Andrew said New Hampshire investigators are waiting for medical records from Maine.

Family members could not be reached for comment.

dseufert@newstote.com


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