Mystery deepens over missing Westport man whose SUV was abandoned in NH
Updated 10:40 am, Tuesday, April 19, 2011
A Westport real estate agent, who colleagues and family last heard from more than two weeks ago, is being sought by police in Portsmouth, N.H., after his Jeep was found abandoned in that city last week -- an unexplained disappearance prompting concerns among loved ones.
Arthur Dean Reinhart, an agent with the Prudential Connecticut office on Post Road East, was last seen by his family in North Carolina on March 22 as he was leaving to return home. Since an April 2 email that WMUR-TV in Portsmouth reports was sent from Provincetown, Mass., Reinhart has not been heard from.
His brother Robert reported the 50-year-old Reinhart missing April 12 in North Carolina, but a search by K-9 units turned up no clues, according to a statement on the Portsmouth police website.
A day later, Reinhart's 2002 Jeep Liberty -- with Connecticut license plate, 692XRD -- was found in a parking garage in Portsmouth, police said. Investigators and his family say they have no idea why the vehicle would be in Portsmouth, WMUR reports.
Reinhart's belongings, including suitcase and travel bags, were still in the Jeep, according to the local news accounts.
Reinhart's family said his cellphone is full and he has not updated his Facebook page, the media reports indicate.
Reinhart was last seen March 22 when he left his brother's home in Lexington, N.C., after a three-day visit while returning from a two-week vacation in Florida, Robert Reinhart said Saturday.
As of Tuesday, Portsmouth police said there were no developments in the search for Reinhart, and the case remains active.
Reinhart's sister, Anita Boushie, who lives in Hillsborough, N.H., said Sunday that her brother had no plans to visit her home, about 40 miles west of Portsmouth in the southcentral section of the state.
"We had no mention of him of coming up to this area," she said. "The last contact we had with him he said he was on his way back to Westport."
Arthur "travels a lot, but we always know where he is. He's in constant contact through emails and Facebook. It's very unusual for us not to hear from him for this type of time period," Boushie said.
There were no outward signs, Robert Reinhart said, that his brother may have been troubled. "I didn't see anything at all. He was emailing and texting people the whole time."
Arthur Reinhart "was just taking his time to get home," Robert said. He last spoke to Arthur by phone on March 23 when he was believed to be staying at a hotel in Virginia. After that, Arthur apparently spent a couple of days at a hotel in Pennsylvania, but Robert didn't know which city or state.
"Art's been bouncing around for the last few years, but he's always kept us in touch with where he is. He emails and calls us. I'll leave him phone calls, and he'll usually get back within a day or so," the missing man's brother said. "He went out of contact and that's why we started looking for him."
Robert Reinhart is perplexed over why his brother's SUV turned up in New Hampshire. "It was strange for me when I heard they found it there. It doesn't make any sense to me," he said.
He said he doesn't believed that Arthur left the country. "If he was heading out of the country, he'd let us know," Robert said. Arthur spent a few months in Mexico last year, but told family beforehand and kept in frequent contact, he said.
"I'm not sure what the outcome is going to be, but it's concerning me now," Robert Reinhart said.
Reinhart worked for the Jonathan Deak and Associates team in Prudential Connecticut, and Deak said Saturday he had known the missing man for many years. Reinhart worked for the Deak team from 2002-05 and again from 2009 to the present. Deak said Reinhart lived in upstate New York from 2005-09.
Deak last saw Reinhart in person at the end of February, but said that wasn't unusual since they mostly corresponded by phone and email. On April 8, however, Deak texted Reinhart and didn't receive a response, which caused him concern.
Deak and Reinhart last spoke by phone on March 24 -- two days after he left his family's home in Lexington, N.C. Deak said Reinhart called from a hotel in Pennsylvania, but didn't specify which town or city.
"We have no idea why he would have gone to New Hampshire," Deak added.
Based on conversations Deak had with some of Reinhart's friends, Reinhart had apparently called two of them and emailed another friend on April 2 from Provincetown. That appears to be the last time anyone has head from Reinhart.
Deak said there were no recent indications that Reinhart was having any problems, even when they spoke on March 23. "It was all pretty much normal with Arthur. There was nothing ominous about the conversation," Deak said.
"He was friendly and personable," Deak said of Reinhart's general personality. "He was very polite and worked well with clients."
Reinhart is white, 6 feet 4 inches tall, with gray hair and brown eyes.
Reinhart has never been been out of touch for long periods, his family told police, and he usually checks in with his mother two or three times a week, according to the news reports.
Portsmouth police said as of Friday that foul play is not considered a factor at this time, but they are considering all possibilities.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Portsmouth police 603-436-2145.
Staff writer Paul Schott contributed to this report.