A popular television weatherman who was found dead of an apparent suicide earlier this month died of hypothermia after exposure to the elements after he inflicted wounds to his arms and lost consciousness in a wooded area in Auburn, the Office of the State Medical Examiner said Wednesday.
The body of Tom Johnston, 46, of Old Orchard Beach, was found in a wooded area near Junction Road and Cascade Drive April 6, three days after he failed to return to his home in Old Orchard Beach following a work engagement and was reported missing by his girlfriend.
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Johnston’s official cause of death was hypothermia from environmental exposure, from loss of consciousness following “self-inflicted incised wounds of both upper extremities.”
Johnston had emceed the Springfest event at Sunday River ski resort the weekend of April 1-2 and had sent video of a snowstorm for WCSH’s 6 p.m. newscast. He was reported missing to Old Orchard Beach police Monday.
Detective Sgt. David Hemingway of the Old Orchard Beach police said an individual or individuals on foot notified Auburn police Thursday night after coming across an unoccupied vehicle in a remote area near Lewiston Junction Road and Cascade Drive. The car turned out to be Johnston’s 2017 Subaru Forester, and Auburn police officers and game wardens found Johnston’s body in a wooded area nearby.
He is survived by his girlfriend and three children, as well as his mother, sister and brother.
Johnston earned an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in 1993, then went on to receive a master of science degree in meteorology from Mississippi State University in 1995.
Before moving to Maine in 2014, Johnston worked as a meteorologist at several stations in Florida, where he covered hurricanes during the busiest season on record and received national exposure for his coverage of Hurricane Ivan. He was chief meteorologist in the Fort Myers-Naples market starting in 2006 and received Best Weathercast awards in 2007 and 2008 from the Florida Associated Press, according to a profile posted on the station’s website.
The new details of his death come after the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Maine’s National Alliance on Mental Illness issued a joint public statement Tuesday in which they said Johnston was “being investigated for a reported sexual assault.”
Law enforcement officials, however, have never said that Johnston was a suspect and say the investigation is ongoing.
Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at: