Police are continuing to investigate the deaths of a couple whose bodies were found shot to death in a wooded area in Concord, New Hampshire. But exactly what happened to them remains a mystery.
What was originally a missing persons investigation is now a hunt for a killer after a husband and wife were found shot to death in the woods Thursday.
The office of Attorney General John Formella said early Friday that two suspicious deaths were under investigation, later identifying the victims as 67-year-old Stephen Reid and 66-year-old Djeswende Reid.
Police said the husband and wife were avid outdoors people, known to take frequent walks along the trails near their home.
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Timeline of events
The Reids left their home in an apartment complex Monday afternoon and went for a walk that led them to the area of the Broken Ground Trails, officials said.
When Stephen Reid didn't show up for a planned event Wednesday, a family member called police to report the couple missing.
After an intense search, investigators found their bodies Thursday evening in a wooded area near the Marsh Loop Trail, near the Broken Ground Trails off Portsmouth Street, authorities said. There was still a heavy law enforcement presence combing the area Friday afternoon.
"This is a tragedy, and it's something that came out of nowhere, and we're doing our due diligence, investing all of our resources, working with our state and local partners, to bring this case to a successful resolution," Concord Police Chief Bradley Osgood said.
Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward said the Reids left their apartment at the Alton Woods complex on Loudon Road around 2:20 p.m. Monday. They walked along Portsmouth Road to the Broken Ground Trails, and their family and friends never saw or heard from them again.
Autopsy results released
The autopsies were conducted by Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Mitchell Weinberg, the attorney general's office said. He determined that the cause of Stephen Reid’s death was multiple gunshot wounds, and that the manner of his death was homicide. He determined that the cause of Djeswende Reid’s death was also multiple gunshot wounds, and that the manner of her death was homicide.
No arrests have been made.
Who were Stephen and Djeswende Reid?
The Reids' two adult children told The Boston Globe Monday that Stephen Reid was a Concord native who worked for federal disaster relief agency USAID for over 30 years. The couple reportedly moved back to Concord about three years ago when Stephen retired.
“Steve’s thirty-plus year career as an international development specialist in service to the world’s most vulnerable through USAID humanitarian projects could not have been made possible without the love, care and support of Wendy who also helped recently-resettled refugees acclimate and thrive in the United States,’' the family said in a statement to the Globe.
The family said Stephen Reid served four years in the Peace Corps in West Africa right after college: “He met his future wife and soulmate Wendy, who was from West Africa, while she was studying in Washington D.C. on an athletic scholarship. They bonded over their mutual love of adventure and fitness.”
'Lock your doors and be vigilant'
Those who live nearby say they are surprised they didn't hear any gunshots.
"It's strange. This is a very peaceful neighborhood and they're talking about murder," Doug Ponusky said. "I never lock my doors. I think I'm gonna lock them tonight."
At a press conference, Ward and Osgood declined to speculate on whether the shooting was believed to be random. Asked if he would recommend that residents lock their doors, Osgood said, "it's always smart to lock your doors and be vigilant."
At the same time, however, authorities said in a press release that residents "are encouraged to be vigilant and take normal precautions as they go about their daily lives."
Investigators seek public's help
Investigators are now asking for the public's help in locating the killer.
"Anyone who saw the Reids that Monday afternoon, anyone walking on those trails, anyone who has any information related to their disappearance or deaths are asked to contact the Concord Police Department about anything that they saw or heard that afternoon," Ward said.
“In addition, anyone along the area where the Reids walked that day from Alton Woods to Portsmouth Street to the Broken Ground Trails who has a home or business security system is asked to review their recordings to determine if the Reids or anyone else were captured on those videos," he added.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Concord Police Department at 603-225-8600. Tips can also be left anonymously by calling 603-226-3100.
The FBI is assisting with the investigation.