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Body of Missouri ER doctor found across Arkansas state line, brother says

Dr. John Forsyth
Dr. John Forsyth

Update: Authorities say a missing emergency room doctor from Missouri whose body was found in an Arkansas lake had died of an apparent gunshot wound. But they're still investigating what happened in the week since Dr. John Forsyth was last seen. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that a kayaker discovered the 49-year-old's body a day earlier. The department didn't specify if the gunshot might' ve been caused by someone else or was self-inflicted. The body was found roughly 20 miles south of Cassville, Missouri, the town where he worked. The doctor’s unlocked vehicle had been found near an aquatic park in Cassville. Police told the family there were no signs of foul play.

Original story: A missing emergency room doctor from Missouri has been found dead in northwestern Arkansas, his brother said, but questions remain about what happened in the week since he was last seen.

Authorities said the body of Dr. John Forsyth, 49, was discovered in Benton County, Arkansas, roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from where the doctor's car was found near an aquatic park in Cassville, Missouri, his brother Richard Forsyth said in an interview Tuesday. Richard Forsyth said authorities had contacted family members with the information. He provided no other details.

The black Infiniti was unlocked with John Forsyth's wallet, two phones, a laptop and other items inside, his brother said. Police told the family there were no signs of foul play. An autopsy and official identification were pending.

“Right now, we really don’t have any breaks in the case,” Richard Forsyth said earlier Tuesday. “I’m confused, and I’m worried. And I don’t like this one bit.”

Police in Cassville announced Tuesday night that the Benton County Sheriff’s Office informed them a body had been found, the same day the bother said the family was told about the discovery.

Messages left Wednesday with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol were not immediately returned.

The last known person who communicated with John Forsyth was the woman he'd recently gotten engaged to, who texted with him at around 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, his brother said.

Police say he was reported missing when he failed to show up for work May 21 at Mercy Hospital in Cassville, a town of 3,100 residents deep in the Missouri Ozarks.

The last time his brother saw John Forsyth was at dinner on Wednesday, May 17.

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

John Forsyth had worked at the Cassville hospital for about 15 years, his brother said, describing him as a doting father, part-time math nerd and dedicated physician who stayed in his RV near the hospital when he was on-call.

“He really cared about his patients,” Richard Forsyth said. “And he loved his kids.”

When the doctor's vehicle was found, several law enforcement agencies searched about a 9-mile (15-kilometer) radius around the aquatic park using people, dogs and drones. Forsyth's family set up a Facebook page seeking information.

“My brother has now been missing for week,” his sister, Tiffany Andelin, wrote Monday. “I’m grieving, I’m afraid, and it feels like the world has tipped into sheer chaos.”