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Missing ER doctor found shot dead in lake; family believes ‘foul play’ involved, reveals victim was kidnapped in 2022

Dr. John Forsythe (Cassville Police Department)

Dr. John Forsythe (Cassville Police Department)

An emergency room doctor in Missouri who mysteriously vanished after finishing his shift at the hospital last week has been found dead from an apparent gunshot wound. A person kayaking on Tuesday discovered the body of 48-year-old Dr. John Forsyth in an Arkansas lake about 20 miles south of where the doctor had last been seen a week earlier, authorities confirmed.

According to a press release from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a call at about 4:43 p.m. on May 30 from the kayaker who told the emergency dispatcher that he found a body floating near the bank of Beaver Lake, across from the Lost Bridge South area.

“Dr. Forsyth was found deceased, in the water, with what appears to be a gunshot wound,” the release states. “Benton County Detectives are working this death investigation alongside Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Cassville Police Department, and Missouri State Police. This is an active investigation, and no further information will be released at this time.”

In a statement to The Daily Beast, a spokesperson for the Cassville Police Department in Missouri reportedly said that investigators were still uncertain as to whether foul play was involved in Forsythe’s death or if the fatal gunshot wound was self-inflicted, saying it was “too early in the investigation.” The department added that investigators are waiting for the results of an autopsy before making any determinations.

Forsythe was last seen at about 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, three days after he proposed to his fiancee. His coworkers at Marcy Hospital in Cassville filed the missing persons report after he failed to show up for his shift that day without calling in — something hospital administrators said had never happened before.

“He wouldn’t miss a shift even if his eyeballs were hanging out of their sockets,” his brother, Richard Forsythe told the Daily Beast. “It was an immediate red flag.”

Richard Forsythe reportedly said that after his brother’s shift ended Sunday morning, Forsythe and his fiancee exchanged several text messages.

“He was texting her things like ‘Hey, my shift’s over’ and ‘I’ll see you a little bit later,'” Richard Forsyth told The Daily Beast. “And then minutes later, he stops responding to text messages and is seen walking toward his RV.”

Forsythe’s car was found in a public park near the hospital, about 20 miles from Beaver Lake, police said.

Forsythe’s vehicle was unlocked. Inside, investigators recovered Forsythe’s two cellphones, wallet, and laptop, among other things, Richard Forsythe reportedly told CBS News on Wednesday.

The brother reportedly said that surveillance footage from the park showed Forsyth pull into the parking lot followed by a white SUV which stopped close to Forsythe’s black Infiniti. After a few minutes, the SUV left, and the footage shows John “walking around” for about 15 minutes before walking away from his car.

While police have reportedly not provided Forsythe’s family with any additional information other than saying the investigation into his disappearance and death are ongoing, several family members told CBS that they did not place any weight on the speculation that Forsythe may have taken his own life.

“I don’t believe it,” Richard Forsythe reportedly said. “John would never do that. I won’t accept that possibility.”

Jason Musgrave, Forsythe’s brother-in-law, echoed that sentiment.

“I feel like it is foul play. I feel like it has to have been,” Musgrave reportedly said. “He was funny and engaging and the life of a party.”

In a bizarre twist to the story of Forsythe’s tragic death, his brother on Wednesday told Fox News Digital that Forsythe in February 2022 had been kidnapped and believed he was “in continued danger.”

“It was cold. He was zip-tied. He was made to feel very unsafe and taken on a car ride with some people to a bridge and was threatened,” Richard Forsythe told the station. “He did not file a police report because he believed he was in continued danger.”

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.