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Murdered Missouri doctor's family reveals chilling new details about how he was killed

Ozarks ER physician John Forsyth, whose body was found in another state, died from a single gunshot wound to the head that was not self-inflicted, his brother told Fox News Digital.

FIRST ON FOX: The family of Dr. John Forsyth told Fox News Digital that he was shot once in the head, providing a new glimpse into the mysterious death of the Ozarks ER physician who was missing for nine days when he was found dead last month in an Arkansas lake.

"It is my understanding he was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, and it was not suicide," said the slain man’s brother, Richard Forsyth.

Richard also learned that John was likely murdered the same day he vanished in Cassville, Missouri, a rural town of 3,100 people. The victim's family believes he was abducted. 

"This was planned. This was very neatly done, and it is very sinister," Richard said. "I want to know if my family is in danger. I want to know if I’m in danger. We don’t have that information."

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John, 49, disappeared May 21 in Cassville after finishing his 12-hour shift at 7 a.m. at Mercy Hospital. 

His family and his fiancée Laura Barnett, who is eight months pregnant with their child, pleaded on Facebook for the public's help locating him.

A kayaker found John's body May 30 floating in Beaver Lake, a man-made reservoir in northwest Arkansas about 25 miles south of the hospital.

The three agencies investigating Forsyth's disappearance and murder – the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Benton County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas and the Cassville Police Department – have shared few details of their probe with the public or the family.

The sheriff’s office released a statement saying Forsyth was found shot but did not disclose whether the injury was self-inflicted, the location of the wound or if he had been struck more than once. 

However, his mother, Dixie Forsyth, who spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Fox News Digital, said there were red flags.

"I remember him telling me once when he came over for a Sunday dinner a year ago, he leaned over and said, ‘I have a feeling I’m not going to live very long,’" she recalled of the grim premonition. "And I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ It kind of scared me. And he said, ‘Oh, it’s nothing.’"

When she asked him later if he still had a foreboding feeling, he was dismissive.

Despite the strange comment, Dixie never imagined he could be the target of such a heinous crime.

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Even after he disappeared, she held out hope until his body was identified.

"Yesterday was the first day I could speak without crying all the time. It has been devastating," she told Fox News Digital last week. "When someone kills one of your children they kill part of you."

His father, Robert Forsyth, previously told Fox that his son had "made some enemies" and "would imply there are people who don't like what I'm doing" but refused to elaborate. 

The wealthy doctor, whose early adoption of bitcoin reportedly turned him into a millionaire, proposed to Barnett, 39, three days before he went missing and about one week after he finalized his divorce from his ex-wife. 

He was ordered to pay about $19,000 a month in alimony and child support, which he did not contest, family court documents show.

His brother said he and his ex-wife, with whom he shares seven of his eight children, were on good terms, and their relationship ended about two years ago.

The exes were high school sweethearts and had married and divorced twice.

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Barnett and John met at Mercy Hospital, where they both worked, but most of his family members and his children did not know about her or the engagement until after he went missing.

John’s fiancée, his ex-wife and their children attended the June 9 funeral along with about 150 other mourners.

However, his secret engagement seems like a mundane revelation compared to other mystifying elements of his personal life.

In early February 2022, he was allegedly kidnapped but did not report the crime and only told one person what had happened. That person relayed the story to police and John's family after he went missing.

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"It was cold. He was zip-tied. He was made to feel very unsafe and taken on a car ride with some people to a bridge and was threatened," said Richard, who created an obscure cryptocurrency called Onfo with his brother. 

John said the harrowing ordeal was somehow related to cryptocurrency but did not offer details.

John’s family admits they have been reduced to total speculation as to the doctor’s demise. "This was out of the blue," Dixie told Fox New Digital. "No one foresaw this."

On May 21, John texted his fiancée that he would see her in "a little bit" as he walked out of the hospital.

She replied at 6:59 a.m. but he never responded. John was headed to his luxury RV, a Thor Motor Coach Challenger, which retails for $260,000. 

He kept the RV in the hospital parking lot, so he could sleep in between his shifts. 

The iPhone he had used to communicate with Barnett was later found charging in the unlocked RV.

His black Infiniti sedan, a stethoscope dangling from its rearview mirror, was captured on grainy surveillance video one mile away at 7:12 a.m. pulling into the parking lot at the Cassville Aquatic Center.

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A white SUV can be seen pulling up alongside the sedan, then departing. 

About 10 to 15 minutes later, a man police believe is John is seen in the video walking out of the frame on foot, but the camera does not record him returning or the car leaving.

"The aquatic center told us it’s a motion-activated camera that shoots a series of stills and is unreliable," Richard said.

That evening, John was due back at the hospital for a 7 p.m. shift but never showed up. His unlocked Infiniti was later found near a waste facility at the recreation center and his wallet, a phone and his U.S. passport were inside.

"It was a Google Pixel 6 Pro and police said it was badly cracked, but I had seen it pristine a few days earlier," Richard said.

Investigators recovered a total of five phones and a computer from the RV and Infiniti, and Benton detectives told the family they were able to access all the devices.

"They said they know a lot more now and are halfway through their investigation," said Richard. "I have no idea what that means."

Barnett and John’s ex-wife declined to comment.

The Cassville Police Department and the Missouri State Police referred Fox News Digital to a spokeswoman for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, whose only comment was to confirm that the investigation is still active.

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