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Friday, August 29, 2014

Body in Merrimack River identified as Ronald Deldotto of Nashua

HUDSON – Police have identified the man who apparently drowned Tuesday after jumping into the Merrimack River as Ronald J. Deldotto Jr., 42, of Nashua, Capt. Bill Avery said Thursday.

Deldotto, who lived at 36 Concord St., Apt. 9, in Nashua, had jumped from either the Taylors Falls or Veterans bridge, which span the Merrimack connecting Nashua and Hudson. ...

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HUDSON – Police have identified the man who apparently drowned Tuesday after jumping into the Merrimack River as Ronald J. Deldotto Jr., 42, of Nashua, Capt. Bill Avery said Thursday.

Deldotto, who lived at 36 Concord St., Apt. 9, in Nashua, had jumped from either the Taylors Falls or Veterans bridge, which span the Merrimack connecting Nashua and Hudson.

Police, firefighters and dive teams from both communities set up command posts and searched the river for Deldotto, before suspending the search late Tuesday night.

Deldotto’s body was located around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday by State Fish & Game divers. They found him about 100 feet south of the bridge, following a diagram outlined by a main witness, Londonderry resident Chad Gagnon, who was fishing near the bridge when Deldotto jumped in.

Tuesday evening, Gagnon said he was watching the bobber on his fishing line after casting into the river when a big splash suddenly caught his attention. Seconds later, a man popped to the surface, shaking the water from his face and wearing what appeared to Gagnon to be a smile.

“I thought I heard him call out a name,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon said the man did not appear to be in any distress but after surfacing two more times, he disappeared.

“I called 911, but I keep wondering if I should have called right away,” Gagnon said.

“I stayed on the line with the dispatcher, and they were there within two, maybe three minutes,” Gagnon said of the Nashua and Hudson departments. “The response was impressive.”

As he kept vigil with other onlookers atop the levee on the Nashua side, Gagnon remembered that he had heard the man count to three just before he jumped. That, plus the fact the man resurfaced multiple times, Gagnon said, led him to believe the jump wasn’t an attempt by the man to take his life.

“From what I could see, it didn’t appear to me like it was a suicide attempt,” he said, pausing to gather his thoughts.

“Man, it’s powerful when it’s right there in front of you,” Gagnon said quietly. “It’s something you hope you never see. It’s something I never want to see again.”

It is common for a body to remain underwater, rather than floating to the surface, for several days after a person drowns.

According to a Facebook page under Deldotto’s name, he graduated in 1989 from Woburn, Mass., high school and most recently worked at Alene Candles in Milford.

Hudson police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Telegraph staff writers Don Himsel, Dean Shalhoup and David Brooks contributed to this report.