Drowning or Murder? Part Two of Amy Erickson’s Special Report 

On Wednesday, we brought you the story of a mystery in the woods of northern Maine more than 80 years ago.Two Game Wardens went missing in 1922…their bodies were found underwater months later.The deaths were ruled drownings…but for years, doubt has persisted…and rumors have abounded as to what really happened.For close to a hundred years, family members, fellow Game Wardens and other law enforcement personnel have doubted that David Brown and Mertley Johnson drowned.Tonight, we look at the other scenario that many believe played out in the woods that fall…and brought their lives to an end.<"all you had was two bodies that drowned up in big bog and you're way back in the woods. you're about as far back as you can get. so no evidence or anything. but they felt it was suspicious at the time."As the former Police Chief in Greenville, Maxim Squires has heard many theories over the years about what really happened at Big Bog back in November of 1922.It's been a mystery for decades.Candy Canders Russell runs the Moosehead Historical Society.She has files bursting with newspaper accounts of Brown and Johnson's deaths."each article seemed to have different details as to what had happened, but there was certainly no final conclusion."Many in the Warden Service have never been able to shake the feeling that Brown and Johnson did not, in fact, drown.bite 4:04 "there's a possibility that they were shot by a trapper up there."At the time they went missing, Brown and Johnson had been investigating illegal beaver trapping in the Saint John Valley.bite 17:05 "at the time, beaver was worth a considerable amount of money. i believe that's right around when it was worth a dollar an inch. and there was some speculation that a Canadian would probably take quite a few chances for something that valuable.""the names David Brown and Mertley Johnson...they mean a lot to game wardens."Retired Game Warden Bill Allen recalls that there was, at one time, a suspect in the Wardens' disappearance."there were two brothers from Canada that were poaching beaver in Maine around the same time Johnson and Brown went among the missing."One of the brothers returned to Canada when he heard the Game Wardens were in the area."the other one stayed. And he was later being given a ride back to the border in a horse drawn wagon and he mentioned to the driver that he'd got a couple deer. The driver asked him where they were and he said 'well, they weren't that kind of deer.' That kind of makes you wonder if he wasn't somehow involved."Allen admits that it's unlikely anyone will ever prove that Brown and Johnson were actually murdered.He'd like to see their bodies exhumed...since, according to at least one present-day medical examiner, the autopsies that were performed back in 1922 could have easily missed a bullet hole.But Allen knows that in all likelihood, the answers will remain forever buried in the woods at Big Bog..."as to what happened to them, I don't know and I don't know if we ever will know what happened to them...and that's too bad. Because men that did the job they did and paid the price they paid have a right to have their story told. And I'm not sure it ever will be.">Fourteen Maine Game Wardens, including David Brown and Mertley Johnson, have died in the line of duty during the department’s history.Their names can all be found on the Maine Law Enforcement Officers Memorial outside the State House in Augusta.