Pat O'Hagan with her children. From left: Shawn, Matt, Maureen, Terry, Pat, Mark
Wheelock, Vermont - October 4, 2010
Police could be one step closer to solving a mystery in the Northeast Kingdom. They found a body and believe it could be Pat O'Hagan, the kidnapped grandmother from Sheffield.
"We are exploring the possibility the remains are those of Pat O'Hagan," said Vermont State Police Maj. Ed Ledo.
Vermont State Police told reporters Monday that hunters guided them to a remote series of camps in the woods of Wheelock, where the men spotted the body. "The remains appear to be that of a female, and foul play is suspected," Maj. Ledo said.
Investigators could not say for sure if the body is Pat O'Hagan, the popular and spry 78-year-old police say was kidnapped from her Sheffield home on September 10th. The remains were sent to the medical examiners office in Burlington for identification and to figure out how the woman died. Police notified O'Hagans children they may have found their mom dead.
Jack Thurston: "Can people read into that, that you are fairly confident this is Pat O'Hagan?"
Maj. Ledo: "We want to remind everyone that New Hampshire still has a missing person case. The fact we in this area have one missing female that hasn't been located? It's not unreasonable to believe that this could possibly be Pat O'Hagan."
Pat O'Hagan's home is 10 miles from where the hunters found the body. Detectives would not say if the remains were buried, nor would they offer any details on what searchers found near the dead woman. A team was processing the camps as a crime scene but police would not say if the woman was killed at the camp or dumped there. They also declined to discuss if they have any suspects. "If this is determined to be Pat O'Hagan, then this is a critical point in the investigation. It gives us more to work on at this point," Maj. Ledo said.
A neighbor who owns a hunting camp next door to the search zone said he's waiting to find out who the dead woman is and offered his condolences to the family of Pat O'Hagan, or to whichever family is mourning a loss.
Police continue to ask the public for any tips in this case. Now they specifically want to know if anyone saw anything suspicious in the area of the Horn Road in Wheelock in the last three weeks. 20-thousand dollars in reward money could go to someone whose tip helps police solve the case.
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