Police patrols add layer of security to Concord trails after double murder

  • The bodies of Steve and Wendy Reid were found off the Marsh Loop trail in the Broken Ground trails area in April. Cassidy Jensen / Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 5/11/2022 5:49:42 PM

More than three weeks after Wendy and Steve Reid were found dead on a city hiking trail, police have started using two borrowed all-terrain vehicles to search the area where the Reids were found and to give hikers a greater sense of security.

Nault’s Powersports in Manchester lent two vehicles to the department to aid the Concord Police investigation into the murders of the Reids, who were found shot to death on April 21. The retired couple was found near the Marsh Loop trail, but police have since expanded their search area beyond the Broken Ground trail system.

Deputy Chief John Thomas said that the department has received multiple tips from hikers about homeless camps in the wooded areas beyond the Marsh Loop trail.

“If there are people still out there that we haven’t come across, they po tentially could be witnesses. So you definitely want to come out and talk with them,” Thomas said.

Last week, Concord Police and the New Hampshire Attorney General announced a reward of $5,000 for tips that lead to the arrest and indictment of whoever killed the Reids.

Police are using the two ATVs as well as mountain bikes and officers on foot to add a more visible law enforcement presence on Concord’s nature trails. With no arrests and no information from authorities about a potential motive for the double homicide, local hikers have expressed fears about safety.

Thomas said two extra Concord officers have been added to each shift to participate in these patrols, requiring overtime pay.

Bike officers from the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Office will be teaming up soon with Concord Police to ride the trails.

“It’s to try to get people to understand that we’re there and you can feel safe,” Merrimack County Sheriff David Croft said. “Not looking for evidence of this crime, not doing any of that, but more so to ease the folks in the community.”

Croft’s staff are also helping “triage” more minor crimes, so Concord detectives can focus on investigating the double homicide with the help of the FBI and the New Hampshire State Police.

“Concord has got an incredible amount of resources and some of the best detectives in the state,” Croft said. “We don’t have any other resources. The best of the best is there.”

Concord Police are also using ATVs to prevent the illegal use of motorized vehicles on the city’s trails. The New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Department normally enforces bans on off-highway recreational vehicles, but Thomas said police plan to use the borrowed vehicles to assist the “tapped out” agency while they can.

“This has been a complaint for many years,” Thomas said. “Now that we have them, we’re going to try to address those issues while those officers are out there patrolling.”

Concord Police will be cautious not to damage fragile areas, particularly when the ground is wet, Thomas said. Some officers have been through the Fish and Game operator course. Thomas said he hopes that the department could get a set of its own ATVs eventually.

Thomas said using ATVs to prevent ATV use is necessary to effectively enforce bans.

“If your guys out on foot, and a guy on an ATV comes screaming by, what’s an officer on foot supposed to do?” he said.

Cassidy Jensen bio photo

Cassidy Jensen has been a reporter at the Monitor, covering the city of Concord and criminal justice, since July 2021. Previously, she was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, where she earned a master's degree. Her work has been published in Documented, THE CITY, Washington City Paper and Street Sense Media. When she's not at City Council meetings, you can find her hiking in the White Mountains.

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