UPDATE: Portland police recover body of missing Massachusetts man; no crime suspected

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PORTLAND — Police divers Tuesday found the body of a Cambridge, Mass., man missing since early Sunday morning.

The body of Nathan Bihlmaier, 31, was discovered by a Maine State Police diver in the water near the Custom House Pier at about 11:45 a.m., Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said at a press conference a few blocks away at Buoy Park.

Bihlmaier was pronounced dead at the scene, and his body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for an autopsy.

The investigation into Bihlmaier’s death is continuing, Sauschuck said, with police studying surveillance video from the Old Port and Commercial Street area to determine how Bihlmaier entered the water. Police have also analyzed phone and bank records, Sauschuck said.

There are no indications of a crime, Sauschuck said.

Some members of Bihlmaier’s family and friends, described by Sauschuck as “strong and vibrant,” travelled to Portland to assist police. “It is certainly a tragedy and our hearts go out to them,” he said.

Bihlmaier had been asked to leave Ri Ra’s Irish Pub at 72 Commercial St. at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night because he was visibly intoxicated, Sauschuck said. Police had previously reported that he left the bar an hour later than that, but video footage showed Bihlmaier leaving the establishment at the earlier time.

Two friends with Bihlmaier did not realize that he had left the bar, Sauschuck said on Monday. They reported him missing to police late Sunday morning, after he did not return to his hotel room.

Bihlmaier and his friends were visiting Portland to celebrate their upcoming graduation from Harvard Business School.

Nitin Nohria, faculty dean of Harvard Business School, joined Sauschuck at the press conference Tuesday.

Bihlmaier was “widely regarded as gregarious by his friends” and was well known within his 90-student unit at the business school, Nohria said.

Bihlmaier’s family and friends had hoped that this week would be one to celebrate, Nohria said. “Imagine us now caught in two emotions,” he said, as it became a week that they, and the school, would also mourn.

“We have all had to confront that he is no more,” Nohria said.

Harvard will find ways to honor Bihlmaier at the business school’s graduation ceremony later this week, Nohria said.

Nohria thanked the divers, police, and city for their efforts in the search.

“We could not have expected or asked for any more from the community in terms of their diligence,” he said.

Bars are required by law to stop serving patrons who are visibly intoxicated, Sauschuck said Tuesday. He encouraged drinking establishments to be mindful of customers’ safety even when asking them to leave, including calling taxi cabs for them when appropriate.

Andrew Cullen can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or at acullen@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @ACullenFore.

Sidebar Elements

Nathan Bihlmaier, left, with his wife, Nancy Ho Bihlmaier. Bihlmaier has been missing since an evening of drinking with friends in Portland’s Old Port early Sunday morning, May 20.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck speaks at a press conference held in Buoy Park Tuesday afternoon to announce that the body of Nathan Bihlmaier, a Harvard University business school graduate student due to receive his diploma this week, was found in Portland harbor earlier in the day.

Members of the press and the public, including Portland City Councilor Cheryl Leeman, at left, and faculty dean of Harvard University’s business school Nitin Nohria, next to Leeman wearing a blue tie, listen as police announced Tuesday that the body of Nathan Bihlmaier, a Harvard graduate student, had been found the water off the Custom House Pier after a three-day search.

Portland police Chief Michael Sauschuck prepares to announce at a press conference Tuesday that the body of Nathan Bihlmaier, 31, had been found that morning in the water near the Custom House pier. Bihlmaier had gone missing Early Sunday after an evening of drinking with two friends celebrating their graduation from Harvard University’s business school, which is set for later this week. He was married and was expecting a child.