PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- NEWS CENTER learned Wednesday that hypothermia killed Meteorologist Tom Johnston after he hurt himself. We received his official cause of death Wednesday from the state medical examiner’s office. Tom, 46, died of hypothermia from environmental exposure. The manner of his death was ruled suicide.
Tom had self-inflicted wounds, lost consciousness and died from hypothermia, said Mark Belserene with the Maine Office of Chief Medical Examiner.
His body was found the night of April 6 in a wooded area in Auburn, Maine. The discovery of his body came within hours of a Missing Persons flier made public by police in Old Orchard Beach, where Tom lived. Tom was reported missing that Monday, April 3, when he did not arrive home after a weekend in Sunday River.
For the last three years, Tom worked with News Center, most recently forecasting the weather weekdays at 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and during the 11 p.m. newscasts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is often the result of multiple risk factors. Having these risk factors, however, does not mean that suicide will occur. Some of the risk factors researchers identified include the following:
- History of previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide
- History of depression or other mental illness
- History of alcohol or drug abuse
- Stressful life event or loss (e.g., job, financial, relationship)
- Easy access to lethal methods
- History of interpersonal violence
- Stigma associated with mental illness and help-seeking
Protective factors buffer individuals from suicidal thoughts and behavior. Some of the protective factors researchers identified are listed below.
Skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
- Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
- Easy access to various clinical interventions and support
- Family and community support (connectedness)
- Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support seeking help
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-8255