Body of missing man found in Ketchikan ID’d

KETCHIKAN — The State Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the body found underneath a fish processing plant in Ketchikan as that of a man who was reported missing in January.

The body was identified on Monday as Thomas Booth, who was 35 when he was last reported seen. A cause and manner of death have not yet been released, The Ketchikan Daily News reported.

Booth was found dead May 10 by employees of E.C. Phillips & Son Inc., who had been doing work on the pilings that support the fish plant. Police Chief Alan Bengaard said the body appeared to have been in the water for a substantial period of time and was pushed underneath the property by a high tide.

Booth was last seen by his girlfriend on Jan. 2 after he left to run errands. He had made it to a grocery store that afternoon, police say.

“The case is still pretty stagnant as to what happened after he left Safeway,” Bengaard said. “That was the last physical sighting we had of him.”

His girlfriend reported him missing Jan. 5, but told Ketchikan police Jan. 6 she had heard from Metlakatla, where Booth has family, that he was there and safe. However, the Metlakatla Police Department contacted the Ketchikan Police Department on Jan. 15 and reported that Booth had not been in the area.

Police then obtained a search warrant for Booth’s cellphone records, which were provided earlier this month. Ketchikan police and rescue crews conducted a search for Booth May 7 based on that cellphone data, but did not turn up any sign of him.

Booth had been one of three open missing person cases in Ketchikan. Gary Hamilton was reported missing by his family in November and Roy Victor Banhart was last seen Dec. 30, 2014, after leaving a Ketchikan bar.

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