WOOLWICH, Maine — A 46-year-old man who disappeared under mysterious circumstances was scheduled to go to court two days after he vanished to face charges accusing him of embezzling nearly $250,000 from a company he co-founded. Kevin Race was last seen alive on Sept. 9, when he left a note at his home saying he went to New Hampshire "looking for his final resting place." Family members say they believe he committed suicide at Mount Washington. But Race's body hasn't been found, and authorities are wondering if he staged his death to evade criminal charges. After Race failed to show up in Lincoln County Superior Court last month, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Bret Beausoleil, a detective with the New Hampshire State Police, said Race's disappearance is being handled as a missing person case. "He's not just a lost hiker. He could be a hiker on the run because of his legal problems in Maine," said Beausoleil. Race's younger brother, Brian, found the note that Race left behind. Brian Race is convinced by the tone of the note and by a conversation he had with Kevin two days before his disappearance that his brother went to Mount Washington to kill himself. In their conversation, Kevin Race said he had visited certain family properties for the first time in years, as well as a relative he had not seen in some time. To Brian, those were indications that his brother was contemplating something drastic. "It certainly has been difficult on our family, no question about it," Race said. "I am very certain he committed suicide. Kevin was not the sort of guy who would run (from his problems)." Kevin Race faces four counts of theft by unauthorized taking, a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to court records. Investigators say Race wrote checks and used personal and company credit cards to embezzle about $250,000 over a five-year period from Custom Cordage, a Waldoboro company he started in 1998 with business partner David Bird. Race was indicted in August after an investigation by the Waldoboro Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Race's attorney, Donald Massey, said the charges stemmed from a dispute over how the company's assets were distributed between business partners. "We were a long way from determining whether there was guilt or innocence in this case," Massey said. On Sept. 9, Race told his girlfriend, Jennifer McClellan of Portsmouth, N.H., that he was going for a hike on Mount Washington, said New Hampshire State Police and Fish and Game Department officials. After Race failed to return, McClellan drove to Pinkham Notch the following day and found his 1998 pickup truck. "We know that Kevin was on the mountain because the hut keeper at Hermit Lake (at the base of Tuckerman Ravine) spoke to him," Beausoleil said. "If someone knows that area well and doesn't want to be found … there is nothing we can do." The New Hampshire Fish and Game's search-and-rescue team, along with members of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the U.S. Forest Service, Army National Guard helicopters, search dogs and others, spent three days searching for Race without success. The region is remote and the terrain is riddled with large boulders, rock fields and exposed cliffs, said Lt. Todd Bogardus of New Hampshire Fish and Game. "We call this the proverbial needle in the haystack," Bogardus said.

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