Amy Dyer got the news she was both hoping for and dreading.

The body of her son, James Dyer, missing since New Year’s Day, had been found.

“In some ways, it’s closure, so we’re glad of that,” she said tearfully Saturday afternoon, hours after Portland police pulled her son’s body from the waters of Portland Harbor. “But there are certainly questions we still have about what happened.”

Dyer’s body was taken from the Portland waterfront to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta to undergo an autopsy that will determine his cause of death and perhaps answer some lingering questions.

“Right now, it doesn’t look like there were any signs of foul play, so that’s good,” Amy Dyer said. “I hope that remains the case.”

James Dyer, 23, of Saco spent New Year’s Eve 2015 in Portland’s Old Port with a group of friends. They left a bar on Fore Street shortly before 2 a.m. and went looking for their car, which was parked on the waterfront. At some point, Dyer got separated from his friends.


Police were called and conducted a search of the area, both on land and water. They reviewed video footage that showed Dyer on a sidewalk in the Old Port but it didn’t show where he went from there.

Divers continued to search the waters of Portland Harbor for several days after Dyer disappeared but didn’t find anything. Amy Dyer said the family knew her son was likely dead, but without a body, that wasn’t certain.

On Saturday morning, nearly 50 days since he disappeared, Dyer’s body was spotted near DiMillo’s Marina on Commercial Street. Police had blocked off the area with crime scene tape by midmorning. They also taped off some of the adjacent boat docks to keep boat owners out of certain areas.

Detectives, divers, firefighters and uniformed police were on the scene during the morning. Police remained there until around 12:15 p.m., when they helped load the body into the back of a hearse.

Police said at the time of the search in January that they did not suspect foul play and believe Dyer may have fallen in the water. But the investigation into his death is continuing, and anyone who has information is urged to contact the Criminal Investigation Division at 207-874-8533.

Amy Dyer said her family has had to delay any funeral arrangements for her son, but now that his body has been recovered, those plans can move forward.


Dyer said she didn’t go to the scene Saturday.

“Honestly, I’ve never been down there,” she said. “And I don’t need to be.”

She paused for several seconds to fight back tears.

“I just wish he had chosen to spend that night a little closer to home,” she said.

Staff Writer Scott Dolan contributed to this report.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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