Maine: Thorndike man, Eric Fitzpatrick 33, hospitalized after being shot twice by state trooper Thomas Bureau

Stephen H. McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, says Eric Fitzpatrick is being treated for two gunshots wounds after he was shot by a state trooper.

The house at 108 Ward Hill Road in Thorndike on Wednesday, a day after a Maine state trooper shot a man there during what authorities said was an armed confrontation.
BY TAYLOR ABBOTT, MORNING SENTINEL

A Thorndike man was hospitalized Tuesday night after being shot twice by a state trooper during an armed confrontation outside the man’s house, according to the Maine State Police.

Troopers were called to 108 Ward Hill Road in the Waldo County town at about 11 p.m. for a reported disturbance between Eric Fitzpatrick, 33, and his girlfriend, according to Stephen H. McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Fitzpatrick was shot by Trooper Thomas Bureau, a seven-year veteran of the department, according to McCausland.

Fitzpatrick was taken to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, and then transferred by Lifelight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where a hospital spokesperson Wednesday said he was in critical condition.

Bureau, who was not injured in the incident, has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice following an officer-involved shooting, McCausland said.

McCausland said he had no additional information about the incident, including what kind of weapon Fitzpatrick reportedly had and what led Bureau to shoot him.

Officials with the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office did not return calls Wednesday to answer questions about their involvement in the case.

No one appeared to be at Fitzpatrick’s house Wednesday afternoon.

Job posting touting Maine’s ‘short season of decomposed bodies’ adds to the drumbeat against Dr. Mark Flomenbaum.

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A Maine state medical examiner who fancies himself a comedian. What could possibly go wrong?

Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, Maine’s embattled chief medical examiner, has for the better part of a year been under the microscope for all kinds of eyebrow-raising activities.

But revelations last week go beyond previous questions about Flomenbaum’s competence and his moonlighting as a private consultant in addition to his day job.

Now we learn he makes jokes, on the internet, about dead people.

“It’s outrageous … that he has such a callous disregard for the sanctity of what it means to hold that job,” said state Rep. Jeff Evangelos, an independent from Friendship, who has several complaints pending against Flomenbaum with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the medical examiner.

The latest flap involves a listing for a deputy medical examiner posted on the National Association of Medical Examiners job website, among other places, in August 2017. Flomenbaum and Kirsten Figueroa, who left the AG’s office last winter to become commissioner of Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services, are listed as the contacts.

The ad is pure boilerplate at first – workload, areas of responsibility, that sort of thing. But then, in a list of bullet points detailing why Maine is “an ideal environment” for a forensic pathologist, the post takes a sudden lurch into the macabre.

Calling Maine “a winter mecca” for various outdoor sports, it adds parenthetically, “translation: really short season of decomposed bodies.

Lauding Maine’s “vast waterways and enormous coastline ideal for aquatic and marine sports,” it quips: “translation: many bodies are lost at sea or wind up in either New Hampshire or Canada.”

On our relatively small population distributed over a large area: “translation: only the bodies that really need to come in for autopsies will do so.

If he was serious, Flomenbaum has a truly bizarre way of looking at the state that in 2018 paid him just under $280,000 in salary and benefits to pick up where death, often violently or tragically, leaves off.

And if he was joking, well, maybe the man needs a long sabbatical.

Some undoubtedly will dismiss the ad as gallows humor, that built-in defense mechanism that serves as an emotional shield for those who regularly deal with horrendous situations. But a wisecrack in the relative privacy of a police station or trauma center or, for that matter, autopsy room, is one thing – a momentary stress reliever intended for the benefit of a small, sympathetic audience.

A posting on the internet? That’s public. That sticks around. That’s a statement to the world about who you are and how you view work that, by any societal measure, is no joke.

“They can have their funny moments whenever,” Evangelos said. “But this was the job posting for the deputy medical examiner. Gimme a break.”

The medical examiner’s office declined a Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald request for an interview on Friday. The AG’s office did not respond to a request for an interview. Contacted via his cellphone on Saturday, Flomenbaum refused to speak on the record.

And from Gov. Janet Mills, on whose watch as attorney general the ad went out, we got only this from spokesman Scott Ogden on Friday: The governor “has a great deal of respect for and confidence in Dr. Flomenbaum and his office.”

Really?

This is the same medical examiner who 12 years ago was fired in Massachusetts by then-Gov. Deval Patrick after an investigation found that state’s medical examiner’s office “on the verge of collapse.” They’d even lost track of a body.

The same medical examiner who, as part of his Lincoln Forensics LLC consulting gig, was found “not credible” as a defense witness in a 2016 Connecticut manslaughter trial involving the fatal beating of a 3-year-old girl. The prosecutor, who won the case, went so far as to alert then-AG Mills that Maine might want to disclose Flomenbaum’s credibility problem when he testifies in court cases here.

It’s the same medical examiner whose last-minute change of opinion on the angle of a gunshot caused a mistrial last February in the murder trial of Noah Gaston. Fortunately, following a retrial that proceeded without incident, a jury on Friday found Gaston guilty of murdering his 34-year-old wife, Alicia.

And it’s the same medical examiner who cited “acute and chronic alcoholism” as contributing to the heart-and-diabetes-related death of Appalachian Trail hiker Jeff Aylward, 63, who was found dead near his Rangeley campsite in August after having no contact with his family for 13 days.

Late Friday, under pressure from Aylward’s widow, Ann, and two private experts who said the alcohol in Jeff Aylward’s system was actually the result of the body’s decay, Flomenbaum quietly removed any mention of alcoholism from his report.  Under “major findings,” he included “moderate postmortem putrefaction,” which is known to produce sometimes high levels of alcohol in the body as it decomposes.

Any one of these flubs would be enough to wonder if Maine is getting its money’s worth from this guy. Taken together, it’s hard to grasp how the normally no-nonsense Gov. Mills still has “a great deal of respect for and confidence in” him.

Now, on top of it all, we discover that Flomenbaum likes Maine for its “short season on decomposed bodies” and sees our rivers and bays as conduits for whisking our corpses to other jurisdictions.

“Flomenbaum has no credibility left, yet it is to him who our prosecutors look to for ‘evidence’ that ends up imprisoning Mainers,” Evangelos said in an email on Saturday. “It’s beyond belief and I expect his lack of credibility will continue to plague our court proceedings.”

Contacted Saturday at her home in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Ann Aylward said she had not yet heard about the medical examiner’s ghoulish job posting. After hearing it read to her, she said she was disgusted but not surprised.

Aylward said she felt early on after her husband’s death that Flomenbaum had no interest in hearing her objections to the alcohol finding – because of his diabetes, she has maintained, Jeff Aylward stopped drinking alcohol 15 years ago.

Her inability to get Flomenbaum on the phone – all of her dealings, she said, were with a subordinate – eventually convinced Aylward that she’d only succeed at clearing her husband’s name if she took on the medical examiner publicly.

Apparently, it worked.

“He never picked up the phone. He never spoke to us. He never even made the attempt,” Alyward said, adding that the not-so-funny job posting only confirms to her that “something’s not right” with Flomenbaum.

“If that’s how he has to find his peace in the work that he does, he needs to get out of that work,” she said. “He needs to get out of that job.”

Maine State Police find two bodies in Greenbush

The deaths of the man and woman appear to be drug-related.

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Maine State Police are investigating after two bodies were found Wednesday inside a home in the Penobscot County town of Greenbush.

State police said the bodies were discovered around noon after troopers went to a residence at 1104 Springs Bridge Road.

It wasn’t clear why police visited the home.

State police said the man and woman apparently died from drug overdoses.

Their bodies were transported to a local funeral home where they will be examined by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

The names of the individuals are being withheld pending notification of their families.

Maine: Death of missing Westbrook man Henry Jacques, 45, not considered suspicious by police

The body of Henry Jacques, 45, was found Tuesday afternoon after he went missing Nov. 8 from his apartment.

The death of a Westbrook man who was found dead four days after he went missing from his apartment is not considered suspicious, Westbrook police said.

Henry Jacques, 45, was last seen at 55 Brown St., Apt. 2, at approximately 3 p.m. by his girlfriend, according to the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit, which assisted Westbrook police with the investigation. Jacques shared the apartment with his girlfriend and a roommate.

His body was found Tuesday afternoon in the woods behind Saint Anthony’s Church on Brown Street in Westbrook, police said.

An autopsy was conducted Wednesday by the office of the Chief Medical Examiner, but further tests are required before pathologists can determine the cause and manner of death, said Westbrook Police Capt. Steven Goldberg.

(how can we yet know then if his death was suspicious or not? – S.)

Maine: Body of missing young man, Ryan Messer, 25, found by Maine Forest Service

The Maine Forest Service helicopter found the body of Ryan Messer, 25, of Hermon on May 2 at 3:24 p.m. in Carmel.
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The body of the young man who went missing over two weeks ago was found on Thursday.

The Maine Forest Service helicopter found the body of Ryan Messer, 25, of Hermon on May 2 at 3:24 p.m. in Carmel.

The Maine Warden Service had a K9 team nearby and was able to respond. The Maine Association of Search and Rescue and Maine Search and Rescue Dogs also helped in the search.

Messer was last seen on Sunday, April 14 around 3:30 p.m. on Spruce Street in Hermon.

RELATED: Search on for missing Hermon man

RELATED: Missing man last seen in Hermon two weeks ago, officers say

His body will be taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

This is an ongoing investigation.

This story will be updated as more information becomes made available.

Maine: 1 killed in fiery Hampden crash, police trying to identify victim

A single car went off the road on I-95 into several trees and burst into flames on April 30 around 5:15 p.m., according to Maine’s Public Safety spokesperson Steve McCausland.

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HAMPDEN, Maine — Maine State Police are still trying to identify the driver who died in a fiery crash  along I-95 southbound in Hampden Tuesday afternoon.

The single car went off the road into several trees and burst into flames on April 30 around 5:15 p.m., according to Maine’s Public Safety spokesperson Steve McCausland.

McCausland said the vehicle is registered in southern Maine. Troopers are still trying to determine who was driving it.

The crash happened near mile marker 176, located between the Route 69 exit in Newburgh (174) and the Coldbrook Road exit in Hampden (180).

Smoke could be seen a distance away from the scene.

Drivers were advised to seek alternate routes until the scene was cleared about two hours later.

Real-time traffic maps showed traffic backed up as far as two miles.

Maine: Samantha Rinaldi, 40, struck, killed by alleged drunk driver, Jay Westra, 58, in Gray.

A source close to the investigation tells NEWS CENTER Maine the alleged driver, Jay Westra, is the husband of Kristin Westra, whose body was found after an extensive search by law enforcement in October 2018.
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Jay Westra, husband of missing North Yarmouth woman, speaks

GRAY, Maine — A 40-year-old woman was hit and killed by a vehicle on Yarmouth Road in Gray Saturday night. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputies and Gray Fire and Rescue responded to the scene around 7:45 p.m. and found Samantha Rinaldi of Gray unresponsive in the road. Investigators believe she was a pedestrian and Rinaldi was transported to Maine Medical Center where she later died.

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Clay Gordon

@ClayGordonNews

Woman hit by alleged drunk driver in Gray last night. She was transported to Maine Medical Center where she later died. The driver is at the Cumberland Country jail on suspicion of OUI http://bit.ly/2GEhe1f 

Deputies arrested 58-year-old Jay Westra of North Yarmouth for allegedly operating under the influence.

RELATED: TIMELINE | Kristin Westra’s husband recounts night his wife disappeared

A source close to the investigation confirmed to NEWS CENTER Maine that Jay Westra is the husband of Kristin Westra, whose body was found after an extensive search by law enforcement in October 2018. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Kristin Westra death was by suicide.

RELATED: North Yarmouth body identified, Kristin Westra’s death ruled suicide

Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office says Westra’s 11-year-old daughter was in the 2015 Honda Civic at the time of the crash.

Yarmouth Road is now open after being closed for approximately 30 minutes.

Cumberland County Detective’s Bureau and reconstructionists from Windham and Gorham Police Departments are investigating.