NEWRY, Maine (CBS) – Authorities in Maine say a popular TV meteorologist who died by suicide last month was the “one and only suspect” in a sexual assault.
WCSH meteorologist Tom Johnston, 46, was reported missing on April 3. His body was found April 6 in Auburn, and police said the cause of death was suicide.
On April 2, police received a report of a sexual assault that occurred the night before in Newry. Sheriff Wayne Gallant said in a news conference Thursday that “plenty of witnesses” confirm Johnston was there, and he would have been charged had he not killed himself.
“The one and only suspect who was identified through victim and witnesses’ information was Thomas Johnston,” Gallant said. “Our investigation shows that Johnston was at the residence and was identified during the commission of the sexual assault.”
Johnston left before deputies arrived on the scene and was later reported missing.
A police report stated that the female victim was at the Sunday River ski resort with friends before the assault occurred. They were drinking alcohol and returned to a house where she laid down to get rest, according to the report.
The victim told police she later woke up to find a man under the covers in her bed.
“She knew the man to be the meteorologist from Channel 6 news, Thomas Johnston,” the report stated.
The investigation is now closed, Gallant said.
The Portland TV station shared the following statement on its website Thursday afternoon:
“We are disturbed to learn this troubling information. We began covering Tom’s disappearance in early April. During today’s Oxford County Sheriff’s Office’s news conference, we learned for the first time with everyone else that Tom would have been charged in a Class B gross sexual assault that happened on April 1, if he was still alive. We share in the community’s shock and our thoughts are with the victim and the families involved.”
— Brian Cliffe, WCSH President & General Manager