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Mass. man identified by dental records after setting himself on fire in Lincoln

Special to the Union Leader

December 10. 2012 1:28PM

LINCOLN - The Massachusetts man who committed suicide Friday by burning himself to death in a Lincoln parking lot has been identified as Erik Halldorson, 40, of Roslindale, a spokesman at the New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Concord said Monday.

Lincoln Police Chief Ted Smith was one of several officers and firefighters who arrived on the scene at Lincoln Woods -- a popular local hiking area - early Friday morning while Halldorson's body was still engulfed in flames in the lot where hikers park while using the nearby trails.

Smith said Monday the medical examiner's office determined his identity through dental records, although police had a good idea who he was from having been alerted to be on the lookout for him, and having found Halldorson's wallet in the car he left behind.

"You never know; we had to get a positive identification. There was no note that he left here, but he had a dentist's appointment card in his wallet, and he was identified through dental records," Smith said.

A spokesman at the medical examiner's office said Halldorson's death has officially been ruled a suicide, with the cause of death listed as "smoke inhalation and severe thermal burns."

Emergency personnel responded to the scene around 7:45 a.m. Friday after a hiker spotted what he believed was a mannequin in flames and called police. Smith said Friday that Halldorson poured a can of gasoline over himself while he was standing, lit a fire, then ran some distance as flames consumed him. The chief described the caller and young firefighters who responded as shaken by what they saw.

The Boston Police department "was involved" in the lookout for Halldorson late last week, according to Smith. Asked if the man had been described as despondent, the chief said he didn't have that detail, but he described the police effort beforehand as a "welfare check" on Halldorson, who was believed to be headed north.

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