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Missing Australian soldier found dead in Adirondacks in New York

Jan. 17, 2014 at 12:38 AM   |   Comments

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- An Australian army captain found dead in the Adirondack Mountains in New York killed himself by freezing to death, a coroner said Thursday.

Paul McKay was last seen on New Year's Eve walking with a large backpack on a railroad track in Ray Brook, N.Y., the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported. He had spent the previous night at the Best Western Lake Inn in Saranac Lake.

McKay's body was found Wednesday on Scarface Mountain by a state forest ranger, Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason said. Police said in a release Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw ruled the death a suicide and said McKay died of hypothermia.

"He was laying there, and he had a blanket on himself," Nason said. "He had winter clothes on, a couple layers of jackets and snow pants. He must have just laid down, went to sleep and froze. That's what it looks like."

McKay, a veteran of Afghanistan, was reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He flew to the United States in late December without telling his family and took a bus to Saranac Lake.

His father reported him missing Jan. 3, telling Saranac Lake police his son sent him an email from the Best Western on New Year's Eve. In the email, McKay said he was leaving his father everything he owned.

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