'Spiderweb' shooting investigation closed
CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- The investigation into the fatal shooting on April 14, 2012, of Mark McAuley has officially been closed.
According to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, "it is clear that Douglas Farr shot and killed victim Mark McAuley. There are no other suspects in the case, and today no other person is being sought in connection with the homicide of Mark McAuley. Therefore, the case will be closed."
"We weren't able to establish a motive," said Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley. "We received no information that there was hostility between the two."
At about 1 p.m. on April 14, 2012, the Hinsdale Police Department received a 911 call from Farr's mother, who said she could not find him but that he was "upset." The police department then began a search for Farr.
At about 2:30 p.m. that same day, the Chesterfield Police Department responded to a 911 call in the area of North Hinsdale Road. The call, which came from a mobile phone, was spotty, but seemed to indicate that a man had been shot, according to the press release from the AG's office.
Upon arrival, members of the Chesterfield Police Department stopped a vehicle that contained Farr, his fiancee, Erin Breault, and Farr's mother.
Breault and Farr's mother told police they found Farr on North Hinsdale Road with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Farr was crying and visibly upset. Farr told police "there was another guy in the woods," that he had shot him and he was dead.
Officers also found a .40-caliber pistol and a loaded magazine inside the automobile. The gun belonged to Farr, according to the report.
When police went to the location identified by Farr, a wooded area with no nearby residences by a little-used dirt road in an area known as the "spiderweb" due to the number of unmarked dirt roads, they found the body of McAuley, who had been shot several times. An autopsy concluded McAuley, who was 39 at the time of his death and had been living in Hinsdale, had been shot a total of six times and the Medical Examiner determined his death was a homicide.
The investigation, which was conducted by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office focused on Farr.
"Although the suspect admitted to shooting the victim, the suspect provided an account of events that, although implausible, warranted further investigation as to the validity of his claim of self-defense," stated the press release. "Given the lack of apparent eyewitnesses to the shooting incident and the events that precipitated and motivated it, further investigation occurred to develop the connection and relationship between the suspect and victim, to establish how and why they came to be in the area of North Hinsdale Road where the shooting incident occurred, and to locate any initially unknown material witnesses. For all these reasons, an arrest was not made in connection with the victim's homicide."
While the investigation continued, Breault and Farr were involved in a head-on motor vehicle accident with a tanker truck on Routes 9/10/12 in Keene on May 3. Both Breault, 35, and Farr, 32, died as a result of the accident. Police concluded the crash was likely caused by Farr, who was driving, being distracted by an incoming call to his mobile phone.
Despite the deaths of Farr and Breault, the AG's office continued its investigation to ascertain what happened between the suspect and the victim and to verify that no other material witnesses to what happened between the victim and the suspect were present when Farr shot and killed McAuley.
"Based on the investigation conducted, on April 14, 2012, it is clear that Douglas Farr shot and killed victim Mark McAuley," stated the press release. "There are no other suspects in the case, and today no other person is being sought in connection with the homicide of Mark McAuley. Therefore, the case will be closed."
Hinckley told the Reformer that the duration of the investigation was not unusual.
"We have been involved with investigations that have taken longer and haven't been closed."
Bob Audette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.
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