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Crime News

Kayaker Finds Missing Missouri ER Doctor’s Body with Gunshot Wound in Arkansas Lake

Dr. John Forsyth finalized a divorce days before his body was found in Beaver Lake in northwestern Arkansas, according to his family. It’s unclear if foul play is suspected.

By Dorian Geiger
John Forsyth

The body of a missing Missouri emergency room doctor who vanished last week was found in an Arkansas lake, law enforcement confirmed this week. 

Dr. John Forsyth, 49, was found dead in Beaver Lake from an apparent gunshot wound, the Benton County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas announced on Wednesday, KTVE reported. A kayaker who made the gruesome discovery tipped off authorities. 

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It’s unclear if law enforcement suspects foul play in Forsyth’s death; officials were unable to immediately determine if the gunshot wound was self-inflicted or if the Missouri doctor was shot and killed by someone else.

Forsyth was reported missing on May 21 after he failed to show up for a work shift at Mercy Hospital. His family is now coping with the sudden loss of the doctor, who recently got engaged to be married.

"We're devastated, especially at the nature of his passing," said his brother, Richard Forsyth, according to CBS News.

Richard Forsyth said that the two siblings last saw each other on May 17, adding that his brother was excited to get married. The doctor had finalized a divorce days earlier, according to his family.

"I told him this is the happiest I'd seen him in a long time,” Richard Forsyth recalled. “His divorce was final May 11, and I think that gave him energy for the future.”

John Forsyth’s fiancée, who is the last known individual to communicate with him, traded text messages with him on the morning of May 21, the same day he was reported missing, his family said. 

Richard Forsyth also disclosed that investigators hadn’t provided any new information — or specified how his brother's body wound up across state lines in Arkansas — since informing the family of the death.

Forsyth’s unlocked black Infiniti, including his wallet, a laptop and a pair of cell phones were found in a remote area by a public pool in the Ozarks town of Cassville, Missouri where he worked. His body was found approximately 20 miles away. 

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"It doesn't seem like a person who left with a plan," Richard Forsyth told the Associated Press this week. "Right now, we really don't have any breaks in the case. I'm confused, and I'm worried. And I don't like this one bit."

Forsyth’s family described him as a compassionate physician and a loving father, who was known to camp out in his RV near the hospital he worked at when he was on-call.  

“He really cared about his patients,” Richard Forsyth said, according to the Associated Press. “And he loved his kids.”

Authorities haven’t released additional information. The case remains open and active. The Cassville Police Department and the Missouri State Police are also assisting in the investigation.