Search continues for Haverhill man last seen 2 months ago in Saugus

Local News

John Lawler, 53, is believed to have left a rehab center to go fishing on July 14. He was last seen purchasing fishing gear at a Walmart.

After nearly two months of searching, authorities still haven’t located 53-year-old Haverhill resident John Lawler. He was last seen in Saugus on July 14, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

What we know about John Lawler’s disappearance

John Lawler, 53, has been missing from Saugus since July 14.

Sean Lawler, Lawler’s 34-year-old son, said his father was staying at the Salvation Army rehab center on Broadway in Saugus when he went missing. He had stayed there a few times before, Sean Lawler said.

A lifelong Haverhill resident and avid fisherman, Lawler is believed to have left the rehab center to go fishing, his son said. On July 14, John Lawler left the center with his fishing pole and debit card, but left most of his belongings, including his cell phone, at the center.

Through their investigation, Sean Lawler said, police have discovered that on the day his father went missing, his father withdrew $5,000 from a bank and then deposited it in a new bank before withdrawing $40. After that, he visited a Walmart, where he purchased worms and a fishing hook and was caught on security footage.

Lawler then visited the Burger King next door where a transaction was recorded on his bank records, Sean Lawler said. Police are still trying to obtain security footage from the Burger King to get a sense of where Lawler went after leaving the restaurant.

Earlier in the day, security footage recorded Lawler wearing a white shirt, shorts, a hat, and sneakers, Sean Lawler said. But at the Walmart, security cameras recorded him wearing a gray tank top.

So far, Lawler’s son said, police have searched Hawkes Pond in Saugus with a dive team, as well as the area around it. It’s unclear where else police may have searched.

Saugus police confirmed Monday that Lawler’s debit card was used the day of his disappearance but hasn’t been used since. They were unable to provide any further information about the search for Lawler.

What might have happened to John Lawler

Sean Lawler said his father liked to be “flashy,” and that it’s possible he mentioned the $5,000 to the wrong person, or that the wrong person overheard him talking about it.

But more likely, the son said, his father became injured while fishing. He said this has happened before, and one time, his father had to be pulled from the water.

John Lawler is a father of four, a grandfather of five, and brother of three. His son said his family is worried sick about his father.

“He’s definitely not the type to take off,” Sean Lawler said. “He likes to stay close to family.”

John Lawler, 53, has been missing from Saugus since July 14. – Namus
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Lawler’s missing persons file describes him as a physically fit white male that is approximately 5-foot-8 and around 190 pounds. He has brown eyes, is bald, and has two tattoos — a skull with flames on his right arm and a devil face on his left arm.

Residents who live near the Burger King at 720 Broadway in Saugus or any nearby water bodies are asked to check security camera footage from July 14 to see if it captured Lawler.

Anyone with information about Lawler’s disappearance is asked to call Saugus police at 781-941-1199.