BELFAST, Maine — Local police are currently investigating the circumstances behind the death of a man whose body was found Friday morning in a stream near High Street in Belfast.
The man was identified as a 28-year-old from Searsport with autism and Asperger’s, according to Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham of the Belfast Police Department. The detective said the man’s name would not be released until family members had been notified.
Foul play is not suspected, Cunningham said, adding that the police got a phone call at 8:38 a.m. telling them there was a body in the drainage brook that flows under the U.S. Route 1 High Street offramp. Police pulled the body out of the stream, covered it with white plastic sheeting and cordoned off the area as they tried to piece together what happened.
The man’s parents in Searsport had reported him missing on Thursday, telling police that he was a “wanderer” and had left with the family car, Cunningham said. At about 5:45 p.m., the man entered the Belfast Variety store on High Street and “acted strangely,” according to employee John Shifflett.
The man appeared to be disoriented and brought a baby carriage with him into the store. The baby carriage had items in it, but no baby, Shifflett said. The man “came in and out” of the store, returning often to the car outside, and employees decided to call the police because of his odd behavior.
Police came to the store, identified the man as the same one missing from Searsport, and notified his parents, who got a ride with the Searsport Police Department.
“Before they’d got here, he’d taken off again,” Cunningham said.
The family recovered the car and baby carriage and searched for the man along with police, Cunningham said.
“They didn’t find him. They looked,” the detective said.
When asked whether the man died of exposure, Cunningham said the body was being taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta to determine cause of death. According to the National Weather Service, the overnight low temperature in Belfast was 28 degrees Fahrenheit.