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No trace of criminal seen entering Merrimack River

Union Leader Correspondent

November 30. 2012 7:15PM

HUDSON - The search for a man believed to have jumped into the Merrimack River Wednesday evening to escape police was called off Friday after state Fish and Game divers found no trace of him.

Hudson police Capt. William Avery said the decision was made shortly before 11 a.m. Friday to end the search. Since Wednesday night, local authorities had been reaching out to surrounding communities in hopes they'd hear from people with a missing loved one. That hasn't happened.

"We haven't received any reports of missing people," Avery said. "However, if that changes, we can resume searching."

The unidentified man, whom police pursued Wednesday night after getting reports of attempted break-ins of vehicles along Maple Avenue, Fulton and Reid streets, is said to have entered the river at Veteran's Bridge, near the Nashua line, around 8 p.m.

A Hudson police officer reportedly saw a man standing at the water's edge under the bridge. When the officer started to approach him, the man went into the river, started swimming upstream and disappeared from sight.

A widespread search began that evening and continued for several hours until dropping temperatures forced crews to retire for the night.

The search resumed Thursday with Fish and Game officials then treating the search as a "body recovery mission," noting the river's frigid waters. Six divers worked in pairs over the course of 12 hours, going into the 40-degree water in 40-minute sessions throughout the day.

Hudson and Nashua firefighters, along with a state police search dog team, traveled by boat and by foot to investigate the surrounding areas.

"They searched all day and all night, but came up with nothing," Avery said.

Police said it is quite possible the man came out of the river undetected.

Anyone with information related to the incident is asked to contact Hudson police at 886-6011.

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