Almost two weeks ago, Thayne Ormsby, a 22-year-old Ellsworth man, was sentenced to three life prison terms for the 2010 murders of three people in Amity. Ormsby, who stabbed two men to death before slaughtering a 10-year-old boy who was desperately trying to hide from him, will die at the Maine State Prison.
While the victim’s families continue to cope with what they have lost, other families are still hoping that an ending to their own pain will be found.
Some have waited a few years. Others, a few decades. But people are waiting.
Maine State Police detectives are still searching for the killer of Darrel Smith, a 56-year-old Woodland man shot to death on Feb. 6, 2008, inside the sawmill he operated adjacent to his home. Smith was alone when someone walked into his business on the Thomas Road, robbed and murdered him and left his body for his wife to find.
Described as a kind, hard working man with no enemies, Smith had no signs advertising the establishment and word of mouth was used to secure business. Police believe that his killer or killers had to be familiar with the sawmill, as it looks like a private residence. They believe the perpetrator or perpetrators also knew he was running a cash-only business and would have money on hand since he did not accept credit or debit cards at his facility. Since the murder took place, police have recovered the safe stolen from his business and the weapon used to kill him. They are still looking for the driver of a small, dark-colored pickup truck that was seen on Thomas Road around noon the day of the shooting. The vehicle had its hazard lights on and the hood was up, indicating the truck may have been having mechanical trouble.
The reward for information leading police to the killer of Darrel Smith has grown substantially over the years and is now at $60,000.
Two years after the Smith murder, a man’s badly decomposed body was discovered by hunters in the woods in Stacyville.
The man is believed to have been in his 50s, about 5 feet 9 inches and weighing about 150 pounds. Officials from the state medical examiner’s office said there are no signs of foul play and estimate the man may have died in early September 2010.
The man was clad in a blue-and-white plaid, button-down, long-sleeve shirt. The shirt was a Vineyard Vines whale shirt from a clothing company based in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. He also was wearing St. John’s Bay khaki pants that had a 33-inch waist and a 30-inch inseam, along with a St. John’s Bay dark-brown canvas jacket, size medium.
He had white New Balance sneakers on his feet, which were model 811, size 10EE, according to police.
Also found with the body was a black High Sierra briefcase containing three empty juice and water bottles, two spray cans of the insect repellent OFF and a brown sweater, size medium.
The victim also was wearing a blue-and-white knit cap with the name “Chris” knit into the design.
Despite diligent work by investigators, the man’s identity remains unknown.
Our thick, deep woods also play a role in a mystery that has remained unsolved for 41 years, and last sightings and a hunter’s story tie it to The County.
Cathy Moulton was just 16 when she vanished rom Portland who disappeared on Sept. 24, 1971.
Police have theorized that she may have been taken to a camp in Smyrna.
Twelve years after she disappeared, a hunter walked out of the Smyrna woods and told police that he had found a skeleton surrounded by women’s clothing. The man said he had come across a triangular-shaped pile of six maple syrup barrels in the area where he saw the remains. The barrels were stacked next to an old stove, and investigators have said that several people had told them that they recalled the landmark. The woods were dotted with maple sugar camps during the 1970s.
The case stalled when the hunter was unable to retrace his steps to lead authorities back to the scene.
Interviews conducted in 2003, however, led investigators to begin another three day search of the Smyrna woods in 2004. State Police and searchers set up a base at The Brookside Inn in Smyrna and stayed for several days.
But it was late October, and the first snowfall fell during the search. The frozen ground prevented the cadaver dogs that were being used from effectively tracking a scent.
Moulton’s sister was with the searchers in Smyrna. She said that her sister had anticipated attending a high school dance back in 1971, and was on her way to a store when she vanished.
She also said that her family has never given up hope that Cathy will one day just walk through the front door. Moulton’s parents, now in their 80’s, still live in Portland.
Detectives said that Moulton was last seen walking down Forest Ave. in Portland and was carrying only a small amount of cash. Loved ones told police that they do not believe she ran away, as she was happy at home and looking forward to the dance.
Prior to her disappearance, Moulton’s four eye teeth had been removed and braces put on her teeth. She wore thick glasses and was last seen wearing a navy blue all-weather coat, a navy blue pant dress and brown leather shoes.
Although there were reported sightings of Moulton in The County and even Canada, they have not led to her being located.
The matter is still considered a missing person’s case. A picture of Moulton, with her wistful smile and the light brown hair that she wore parted in the middle, is still featured on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website. The blue-eyed girl stood 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 98 pounds when she was last seen. Included on the site is an age-progressed photograph of what Moulton might look like today.
These are not the only unsolved homicides in The County, and a list of them can be found on the State Police website. There are also some missing persons cases that remain open.
For the stories that I write, there is almost always an ending for the people or the public involved. The criminal gets sentenced, the budget gets passed or rejected, the grant money gets won or lost.
But in some cases, like the ones that I have mentioned here, the final chapter has not been written.
There are people out there who are still searching, still waiting, still hoping.
That cannot be forgotten
Members of the public who have any information about the Smith homicide or the identity of “Chris” are encouraged to call the Maine State Police at 800-924-2261 or 532-5400.
Anyone who has information about the Moulton can can contact the Portland Police Dept. at 874-8533 or the Portland Public Safety Dept. at 874-8300.