Police: Missing man found dead; five arrested

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 03-24-2023 1:37 PM

NEWPORT — Five Sullivan County residents — including two brothers — have been charged in connection with the death of a missing 40-year-old Newport man whose body was discovered in a wooded area a few hundred yards from the residence in Newport where the missing man had been staying, Newport police said on Thursday.

Police allege that the five individuals conspired to unlawfully remove the body of Mark Hudson, who had been reported missing since Tuesday, from the scene of his death at an address on Paradise Road. The cause of Hudson’s death is still under investigation and pending a medical examiner’s report.

Laurel Ayotte, 50, Christopher Ayotte, Jr. 27, Jacob Ayotte, 19, and Candace Fontaine, 31, have all been charged with conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence, a felony, and conspiracy to commit abuse of a corpse, a misdemeanor, Newport police said in a news release late Thursday afternoon.

All four individuals are being held without bail at the Sullivan County House of Corrections pending arraignment at Sullivan Superior Court at 1 p.m. on Friday.

A fifth suspect, Ryan Palmer, 32, of Sunapee, has also been charged with the same offenses and remains at large.

Newport Police Chief Stephen Lee, in an interview, said authorities won’t be able determine until a toxicology and medical examiner’s report are completed whether Hudson’s death was due to a drug overdose, “but that’s certainly one possibility.”

The initial investigation suggests that Hudson, who grew up in Newport and attended Newport schools, was temporarily residing at a home in the neighborhood where he was found, according to Lee.

Newport property records show that a three-bedroom residence at 86 Paradise Road is registered under the heirs of Christopher J. Ayotte Sr., who died last year at age 48.

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Newport police request that anyone with further information about this investigation or regarding the whereabouts of Ryan Palmer to please contact Detective Alexander Marvin at 603-863-3232 or amarvin@newportnh.gov.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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