Boat belonging to missing special forces veteran washes up 7 months after disappearance from NC

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Simone Jasper

The Charlotte Observer

A missing North Carolina man’s boat was found across the Atlantic Ocean, deepening a monthslong mystery.

Joseph Matthew Johnson was 44 years old when officials said he was last seen in November. He was alone when he left the Federal Point Yacht Club marina in a Clearwater boat, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Johnson was a retired U.S. Army Special Forces solider. He reportedly served 24 years according to the Daily Mail.

Now, seven months after Johnson disappeared from the North Carolina coast, a Clearwater boat that he owned was discovered more than 2,800 miles away across the Atlantic. The boat washed onto São Jorge Island, part of the Azores region about 900 miles off the coast of Portugal, according to the Carolina Beach Police Department.

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The missing man wasn’t inside the boat, and the search for him continues, officials said Monday, June 27 in a news release.

Johnson, a Carolina Beach resident, reportedly hasn’t been seen since about 11 a.m. on Nov. 22. That day, officials said his cellphone stopped pinging at about 5:15 p.m., when it was near Bald Head Island.

Five days later, a friend who was in the area “for prearranged fishing plans” reported Johnson missing, according to police in the town south of Wilmington.

At the time of his disappearance, officers in a news release said “Johnson is known to frequent offshore and the area of Frying Pan Shoals while fishing.”

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Johnson is described as being about 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds, with strawberry blonde hair. He might have had a handgun with him when he left the marina, officials said.

As of June 27, the investigation continued, and anyone with information was asked to call 911 or police at 910-458-2540.

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