The Newport grandfather and grandson missing since going for a motorcycle ride Monday have been found dead in Boscawen, likely victims of a fatal motorcycle collision with a deer, according to police.
“Thank you everyone for your prayer, shares and any who helped look. I ask that you continue to pray for our family, my uncle and cousin were found not long ago,” said Brandi Hodgins. “Not the answers we wanted but we now have closure.”
Hodgins’ uncle, Jerry Proper, 69, and her cousin, Cody Pillsbury, 22, went missing Monday afternoon when they left town on Proper’s Honda trike motorcycle.
Newport police Chief Brent Wilmot confirmed that the pair were found late Thursday in a heavily wooded area off Route 4 in Boscawen. Wilmot said the road is paved and traveled, but it is out of the way.
“To me, it seemed pretty remote,” Wilmot said.
The pair were found well off the road, deep into a wooded, swampy area. Volunteers and police had been searching for them for days, and Wilmot said given where they were found it is not surprising it took this long to locate them.
“Unless you have some sort of specific training in accident investigations, you may never have noticed there were signs of a crash,” Wilmot said.
Police ended up using sophisticated cellular tower data analysis provided by the Civil Air Patrol’s National Cell Phone Forensics Team to locate Proper and Pillsbury, Wilmot said. The data led police to an area off Route 4 at Salisbury and Boscawen town line.
Searching the area where the cell phone data led them Thursday afternoon, police found the crash scene deep in the woods and the bodies of Pillsbury and Proper. Wilmot said the initial investigation points to a collision with a deer being the cause of the crash, but the final investigation is not yet complete.
Erica Proper, Jerry Proper’s daughter, said Thursday the family had been conducting searches within a six-mile radius of an area in Danbury, the last place the family could determine where Pillsbury’s cell phone gave off a signal. Jerry Proper did not carry a cell phone, though he was an experienced motorcycle rider.
Erica Proper said the six-mile radius was a guess based on how much gas the family thought Jerry Proper would have in his trike.
Danbury is about 30 miles from Newport, where Proper and Pillsbury started out on Monday for a ride, with no fixed destination. Danbury is also about 20 miles from Boscawen where they were eventually found.