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Family says father of four was the man found dead in a river in Penacook

  • Chris Audet (left) and his family are shown on a trip to Walt Disney World. Courtesy



Monitor staff
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A lone red bucket with a cross inside stood atop a rock overlooking the Contoocook River. With the cross sat two American flags and red-and-white-striped balloons.

It’s in this spot that the family of 45-year-old Chris Audet said his body was found on Sunday.

Audet, a father of four, has not been publicly identified by authorities, who say the investigation into his death is ongoing.

Marine Patrol said a man was found unresponsive in a shallow portion of the river by a passer-by on Sunday near Island Shores Estates in Penacook. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The person found was wearing swim trunks and a gray sleeveless T-shirt, and appeared to have been swimming, officials said.

Audet’s family, who identified him to the Monitor, said they are mourning his sudden death and looking for answers.

Audet’s 18-year-old daughter Madysen said she wanted to dedicate her father’s memorial to his love of the American flag. Chris had a tattoo of the flag on his arm, often wore American flag-themed clothes, and once had a truck that he decorated with American flags, she said.

Audet’s family said he was born in the Concord area and attended Merrimack Valley High School. They said he often visited the swimming hole behind Island Shores Estates.

He was most recently employed as a maintenance worker at Penwood Apartments in Concord. Before that, Audet owned his own sanding and flooring business, Audet Floor Sanding & Refinishing, for many years. His family described him as the hardest worker they knew.

“He would do anything for anybody,” said his father, Richard Audet. “He could literally work 15 hours a day.”

Chris Audet had a passion for spending time outside, his family said. They recalled many happy memories swimming, fishing, hiking and camping at Thousand Acres Campground, Tucker Pond and on the Maine coast.

“We’d go anywhere where he could put the camper,” said Chris’s 26-year-old son, Codi.

His former stepson Nick Ford, 23, said Audet was always the loudest cheerer in the audience at his kids’ sports games. He was also an avid Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins fan.

Madyson said he was friendly and outgoing and could talk with anyone he met.

“He was so sociable,” Madyson said. “We would be on a random trip to the store, and he would end up in an hourlong conversation.”

The state medical examiner’s office was scheduled to perform an autopsy Monday. Marine Patrol did not return multiple requests for more information Monday and Tuesday.

Police ask anyone with information to call Marine Patrol Officer Scott McLain at 227-2118.

(Leah Willingham can be reached at 369-3322, lwillingham@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @LeahMWillingham.)