Crime

Weatherman Who Took His Own Life Was Suspected Of Rape

| by Michael Howard

Police in Maine have said a popular television meteorologist who died by suicide in April was the sole suspect in a sexual assault case and was about to be charged with the crime when he took his own life.

Tom Johnston, 46, also known by his nickname "TJ Thunder," worked as a weatherman for WCSH in Portland, Maine. He was found dead in a wooded area of Auburn on April 6, three days after being reported missing.

The Office of the State Medical Examiner determined Johnston died of a combination of hypothermia and blood loss after having cut his wrists and lost consciousness.

Oxford County police have since revealed Johnston was the only suspect in a sexual assault that reportedly took place at a residence in the early morning hours of April 2. The victim said she had been drinking with friends at a ski resort, where Johnston was acting as a celebrity judge for a margarita mix-off, according to Heavy.

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After leaving the resort, the woman returned to a friend's house and went to sleep. At some point during the night she said she woke up and found Johnston in bed with her.

Johnston allegedly left the house that night. The following day, on April 3, his girlfriend reported him missing. Authorities found his body in the woods three days later.

In a news conference on May 4, Sheriff Wayne Gallant stated that "plenty of witnesses" had confirmed that Johnston was at the house and in the room where the assault occurred.

"The one and only suspect who was identified through victim and witnesses' information was Thomas Johnston," he said, according to WBZ. "Our investigation shows that Johnston was at the residence and was identified during the commission of the sexual assault."

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"The case is closed, and what is available is what we can give to the public," Gallant added, according to WCSH. "That's what we're doing today."

Johnston leaves behind a girlfriend and three children, according to Heavy.

His former employer, WCSH, released the following statement in response to the sexual assault allegations:

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.

Sources: Heavy, WBZ, WCSH / Photo credit: axelle b/PublicDomainPictures.net

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