Missing Maine trucker found dead

| 12/1/2006

Family members have told media and law enforcement officials that depression had plagued trucker Clark MacDonald for years before he apparently took his own life in the woods near a rest area on Interstate 95.

MacDonald, a 42-year-old Land Line reader from Oakfield, ME, was found dead, hanging from a tree in the woods near the rest area on northbound I-95 near Pittsfield. He had last been seen alive Nov. 8.

A driver for Houlton's Little Rock Express, MacDonald reportedly did not leave a note in his rig, which was found at the rest area about 24 hours after his last communication with his dispatcher.

Police immediately searched the area around the rest area with dogs, but thick brush hampered their efforts, according to local newspaper and television reports.

MacDonald's wallet, with his identification, was in his pants when he was found hanging by a belt, according to a Maine State Police spokesman. When MacDonald's truck was found, investigators recovered his logbooks, paycheck and cell phone from the cab. The keys were in the ignition.

"Everything we found at the scene is consistent with a suicide," Jeffrey Beach, a trooper with Maine State Police told the Portland Press Herald.

A deer hunter on an all-terrain vehicle found MacDonald's body the day before Thanksgiving.

The divorced father of an 8-year-old boy, MacDonald was described as a "live-in caretaker" for his elderly parents.

"He's been very unhappy for about eight years," his mother Lois MacDonald told the local newspaper.

She said her son's mood was particularly somber in the weeks before his disappearance.

MacDonald's sister told police that the trucker was very responsible and his co-workers could not believe he would abandon his vehicle.

The dispatcher at Little Rock Express who spoke to MacDonald about 24 hours before he went missing said the trucker - who was supposed to be headed south - had taken the wrong trailer and had likely turned around to go back and pick up the correct one.