Appalachian Trail Crime Scene

Maryland State Police detectives are investigating an apparent murder-suicide along the Appalachian Trail in Washington County.

A 2-year-old boy and his father are dead after a suspected murder-suicide along the Appalachian Trail near Frederick County, and detectives were working into Friday night to pinpoint a motive.

Authorities identified the deceased as Frederick resident Sean M. Thomson, 34, and his son, Dawson Thomson. Their bodies, displaying “obvious trauma,” were found in rugged terrain near the Frederick-Washington county line in Boonsboro, according to a Maryland State Police news release, which classified the incident as an “apparent murder-suicide.” A knife was discovered at the scene.

Greg Shipley, a spokesman for MSP, said detectives were working to determine a motive Friday night. The mother and wife to the deceased described Sean Thomson as “despondent” of late, according to Shipley. The family had been living together, police said.

Sean Thomson reportedly picked up Dawson from his wife’s parents’ home near Boonsboro Thursday night and told the parents he was going hiking.

Around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the concerned mother and wife contacted MSP after seeing Sean Thomson’s car in the parking lot in the 11000 block of Baltimore National Pike in Boonsboro.

Authorities began what would be a several-hour search involving multiple divisions, including the Mobile Field Force, Special Operations Division, Natural Resources Police and personnel trained in tracking.

Two-year-old Dawson’s body was found shortly after 3 a.m. in a ravine off the Appalachian Trail, more than a mile north of where the car was located. Sean Thomson’s body was located less than an hour later. The proximity of the two bodies to one another was not immediately clear.

Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators and crime scene technicians spent Friday processing the scene of the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about the apparent crime is urged to contact the Frederick Barrack at 301-600-4151.

This story has been updated.

(16) comments


My heart is breaking. I am so sorry for everyone concerned. May God give you strength.


When things look black, remember black gives way to blue. Hold on to hope.


Sad for the boy's mother and family. Father "despondent" lately probably says everything.


Something isn’t making sense. Murder suicide? Story says both bodies have signs of trauma. How did the father sustain trauma?


Medically speaking, trauma is just physical damage to living tissue. A self-inflicted stab wound or slitting of his wrist (both are per speculation and only two possible examples) would classify as "trauma." I wouldnt pull out the tinfoil hat just yet.

I've hiked the section of trail with my kids countless times. Truly tragic.


Thanks for the explanation.

Very Very tragic.


I've hiked it alone many times. I quit a while back when I ran into some drug users enjoying their recreation up there.


By cutting his wrists or shooting himself.




What a tragedy. May their loved ones find peace.


This is so sad. It hurts just reading it.


May all those who have been impacted find peace amidst all this pain. In cases like this words seem so inadequate - may we all show through our words and deeds the importance of shining light on the diffuculties of mental illness, and work towards healing and comforting those who suffer with and from it.




I recently finished the MD portion of the AT with my dad...and I have a son about this age...this one hit me...


So incredibly sad and tragic. A huge shout out to the men and women who put their own lives at risk tramping through that difficult terrain in the middle of the night in the search.


Sick to my stomach. Prayers for that little boy and his family.

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