The body of Thomas Stone, a missing man from West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, has been found.
“The department and the community at large are saddened at the outcome of this event, but are grateful that we were able to recover the body to bring closure to the family,” said West Bridgewater police lieutenant Victor Flaherty.
Stone, 53, was a graduate of West Bridgewater High School and a longtime employee of Tom Snell Construction & Excavating. His niece, Alissa Souza, said it was “not like him” to disappear.
In a Facebook post, Jeff Ames, who spoke to Thomas while the southeastern Massachusetts native was doing work on a septic tank, described him as a “hard worker” and “good guy.“
“He is a hard worker and a good guy. He would not take beer. Said he quit drinking and I told him I was proud of him and that was a good accomplishment. I hope he is okay.”
Stone’s red Ford Expedition was found near the West Meadow Pond conservation area in West Bridgewater on Friday, March 11. He was officially reported missing the next day.
One person who reported him missing said they spoke to him at about 11:45 on Friday morning.
Police and fire departments from West Bridgewater and nearby towns used various search-and-rescue teams and methods to find Thomas Stone. K-9 units, mobile command centers, and ATVs were all used to aid search efforts. Authorities from several different towns broke up into teams and searched the nearby woods to find the missing man. They even used an air boat from the Bridgewater fire department to comb West Meadow Pond.
Police were forced to close off roads in order to facilitate search-and-rescue efforts.
Law enforcement, family, and friends also took advantage of social media in order to find Stone.
Two days after Thomas Stone was reported missing, the West Bridgewater police department posted a picture of him on their Facebook page and asked anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to call them.
Their post was shared 1,738 times.
Former and current Massachusetts residents posted their thoughts and prayers in the thread.
“Keeping you in my prayers and hoping for his safe return,” said one Massachusetts native. “Shared here in Brockton. I live not too far from West Meadows, on the West Bridgewater/Brockton line. I will keep my eyes open.”
“Prayers from a former WB resident now residing in NC sending prayers???? and hope for a safe return of Tom. Keep us posted.”
Others posted suggestions for the police.
“How about state police SERT team and helicopter with FLIR camera that looks for heat signatures to look in/around where SEMLEC did?” said one man.
“Or any parks lakes culture areas. in the Bridge water area. Down to south shore. Get in touch with brig water police,” said another.
On Saturday, March 19, family and friends were able to assist in the search of Thomas Stone for the first time. Along with law enforcement officials, they were able to look through areas not searched by previous teams.
Their efforts paid off. At 9:40 that morning, one week after he was reported missing, Thomas Stone’s body was found in the conservation area about 100 yards off a dirt path.
Flaherty said Stone’s death was not “accidental.”
“Preliminary findings by investigators revealed his death wasn’t accidental or suspicious in nature.”
Stone’s body was taken to the local medical examiner’s office in order to confirm the cause of his death.
His family was not available for comment.
There is no word yet on why or how Thomas Stone died.
[Image via West Bridgewater police department Facebook page]