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Entries in Maine (40)

Thursday
May302013

Teen Allegedly Killed by Kidnapper Seeking to Be a Hero

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BANGOR, Maine) -- A man's bizarre plot to be a hero by kidnapping and then "rescuing" a teenage girl who had rebuffed his advances resulted in her death, according to an indictment charging him with murder.

Kyle Dube, 20, of Bangor, Maine, was arrested for the murder of Nichole Cable, 15, after he lured her from her home while pretending to be one of her Facebook friends promising her marijuana, the indictment states. The indictment was unsealed on Wednesday.

According to police, Dube waited in the nearby woods wearing a ski mask on May 12 as Cable walked to the end of her driveway to meet Bryan Butterfield, a friend of hers who she'd been speaking with online. Dube allegedly jumped from the bushes, duct taped Cable and threw her in his dad's pick-up truck.

When Dube removed Cable from the truck, she was dead, his brother Dustin Dube told police, the indictment claims.

"Kyle intended to kidnap Nichole and hide her … he would later find her and be the hero," Dustin Dube told police, the court document states.

Kyle Dube had set up a phony Facebook profile for Butterfield, a man who Cable knew. Posing as Butterfield, Dube repeatedly requested to meet with Cable. On the night she vanished, Cable sent a text message to a friend saying that she had planned to meet Butterfield.

When interviewed by police the day after Cable disappeared, the real Bryan Butterfield said that he suspected Dube, who he said wanted to have sex with Cable, but had been rebuffed by Cable.

While searching for Cable, investigators logged into her Facebook account and noticed frequent communications between her and the fake Butterfield account. Detectives made an emergency request to Facebook to produce records to identify the owner of the fake account and the IP address linked to an account that belonged to Dube's parents, according to authorities.

Facebook also provided the last four digits of the smart phone used to log into the fake Facebook account, and they matched the last four digits of Dube's phone number, the indictment states.

During an interview with police, Dube stated that he had a relationship with Cable, and had exchanged text messages with her the day she disappeared, but was at work in Bangor when she vanished. He consented to a DNA sample, which later proved to match DNA on a sock found in a wooded area where police were searching for Cable, police said. Cable's DNA was also found on the sock.

On May 20, Sarah Mesinger, Dube's girlfriend, told police that he had detailed to her where he left Cable's body in a clearing, covered with branches and that he had thrown her clothes out of the truck's window, according to court papers.

Police deployed aircraft and dogs in the search for Cable's body, while hundreds of civilian volunteers had spent days searching. Her body was found on the night of May 20.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan192013

Zumba Sex Scandal: Accused Business Partner Claims Affair with Alexis Wright, Denies Prostitution Ring Involvement

ABC News(PORTLAND, Maine) -- The man accused of bankrolling the Maine Zumba studio, which instructor Alexis Wright allegedly used as a front for a brothel, denied having any involvement or knowledge of the alleged prostitution ring, but said he and Wright had an affair and he loaned her money.

In an interview with Nightline, Mark Strong Sr., flanked by his lawyer, Dan Lilley, spoke for the first time about the accusations that he was the 30-year-old Zumba instructor's business partner in a prostitution scandal that has rocked the small New England town of Kennebunk, Maine.

"I'm sorry for any dishonesty [and] for the intimate relationship that I had with Alexis Wright," Strong said.

Strong, a married 57-year-old former private investigator who owns an insurance agency, said he and Wright had a casual relationship at the time of his arrest and he had only been to Kennebunk "a few times."

He denied he ever paid Wright for sex.

"We did have intimate moments but it's not what I would consider romantic," he said. "It was just physical."

Prior to that, Strong said had known Wright for about three or four years and she once worked for him as a private investigator assistant. He admitted he gave her a personal loan for her Zumba business and co-signed the lease for her Pura Vida Zumba studio.

"It started out as a business relationship," Strong said. "We had a friendship. We talked often. I may see her once a month."

Wright has been charged with operating a brothel, as well as 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges. Strong faces 59 misdemeanor charges, including promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy for allegedly video-recording the encounters between the alleged prostitutes and some prominent local men.

Prosecutors said they have 100 hours of video evidence and photos, some of which were seized from Strong's computer. Strong denied having any knowledge of that or having the materials in the first place.

Both Strong and Wright have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them, and they stand to go to trial next week. Strong and his attorney said they also believe Wright is "innocent until proven guilty."

Lilley asked for the trial to be postponed. He requested a change of venue and for himself to be removed from the case because Strong cannot afford his representation. But Justice Nancy Mills denied all motions and the trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 22.

The scandal unraveled this past summer when Kennebunk Police raided Wright's dance studio and a nearby office, where they confiscated detailed records and hours of video. Since then, the police have released a bi-weekly blotter on their website that documents arrests, complete with names, ages and home addresses.

More than 150 men -- and at least one woman -- are being investigated for whether they paid for sex at Wright's Pura Vida Zumba dance studio, and 66 men face misdemeanor soliciting charges.

In October, police released the names of 21 men accused of paying for sex with Wright. Among them were James Soule, a former mayor of South Portland, Maine, and Don Hill, who stepped down as hockey coach for Kennebunk High School after his name appeared on a client list. Both Soule and Hill have plead not guilty.

In an interview with Nightline on Friday, two attorneys representing the 21 men charged with misdemeanor soliciting staunchly defended their clients.

"Their lives have been turned upside down since their names were mentioned in a police blotter, which is evidence of nothing, but the mere allegation here has been enough to smear people's reputations," said criminal defense attorney Stephen Schwartz.

Gary Prolman, the lawyer for Don Hill, said his client believed he was in a relationship with Wright, not only seeing her at her studio but also at her home.

"His intension was to go for a massage in Kennebunk," Prolman said. "He and Ms. Wright, from his perspective, had a relationship."

When Nightline approached Wright at her home in October to ask about the allegations, she refused to speak on the matter.

"I have no comment," she said, before threatening to call the police and shutting the door.

Nightline also spoke to Wright's attorney, Sarah Churchill, in October, who said the ordeal had been tough on her client. She is adamant that Wright is innocent.

"There's been a lot of scrutiny on her," Churchill said. "Getting through the day in any sort of normal way has been sort of difficult."

Authorities said the Pura Vida Zumba dance studio is just a few miles down the road from the Bush family's exclusive summer compound where the whole clan still vacations. President George H.W. Bush still has a summer place there and it is where his son, President George W. Bush, spent his boyhood summers.

According to court documents, the landlord for Wright's studio called police after hearing unusual sounds coming from her office and seeing strange men come and go at all hours of the night.

Kennebunk-area resident Allison Ackley said she attended Wright's Zumba classes and didn't suspect what was going on.

"I thought she was a little, I don't know, not risque, but a little flirtatious at times with a couple of the male participants of the class," Ackley said of Wright. "But, I mean, it's Zumba. You're just in there to have fun."

Lilley and Strong again reiterated that Strong had done nothing wrong. Lilley compared his client's situation to a bank giving someone a personal loan and then that person using it to buy drugs.

"The bank is not responsible," he said. "We feel there is a good analogy there."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan012013

Missing Maine Snowmobile Riders: Search Suspended in Cold

Rangeley Lake on Dec. 31, 2012 (Maine Warden Service)(EUSTIS, Maine.) -- Freezing temperatures and brutal winds have forced the Maine Warden Service to suspend its search on Rangeley Lake for three missing snowmobilers.

Wardens were monitoring the weather on Tuesday in hopes of resuming the rescue, Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service said in a press release. Whitecaps on the lake and temperatures approaching 20 degrees forced the wardens to halt their use of airboats, aircraft, and side-scanning sonar in the search for the missing men.

The missing snowmobilers have been identified as 40-year-old Kenneth Henderson, his cousin Glenn Henderson, 43, and John Spencer, 41.

The three left Carrabassett Valley, Maine to go on a ride together Sunday evening. They were last heard from in Eustis, Maine, according to ABC affiliate WMTW.

The warden service was contacted at 2:30 a.m. on Monday when the three men did not return.

While the wardens searched the lake on Monday to recover the body of a woman in a separate snowmobiling accident, they said they uncovered "several pieces of evidence," including helmets, that led them to believe the missing men may have unintentionally ridden their snowmobiles into open waters.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec292012

Maine Kicks Off Same-Sex Marriages on Saturday

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Maine) -- Same-sex couples in Maine are heading to city halls across the state on Saturday to say "I do" on the first day the state's new gay marriage law goes into effect.

At the clerk's office in Portland, five couples got married on the spot at a special midnight celebration.

Beth Allen with Equality Maine said, “There are some couples that have been waiting not just months and years, but decades to be able to get their license, to get married and to have their relationship recognized here in Maine.”

Maine voters approved gay marriage in November. Washington state and Maryland also approved gay marriage in this past election.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec242012

Missing Yacht School Friends: Police Find Clothing on Small Island

Kennebunkport Police Department(KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine) -- Clothing items believed to belong to two missing yacht school friends were found on the rocks of a small island off the coast of Maine on Monday, according to the Kennebunkport police.

Zachary Wells, 21, and Prescott Wright, 23, were last seen hanging out at a home in the seaside community on Thursday, Police Chief Craig Sanford said.

The disappearance of the two friends baffled authorities, who have searched by air, water and in wooded areas for the men.

Monday marks the first breakthrough in the case, when authorities discovered the clothing, including one item that was marked to indicate that it belonged to one of the men, Sanford said.

Wells and Wright are students at The Landing School in Arundel, Maine, where they were learning boat building and yacht design.

When the men failed to show up for classes on Thursday and Friday, administrators at the school contacted police.

Authorities found no signs of a disturbance at the home, Sanford said, and searches of the nearby area did not turn up any clues. Only one of the men owns a vehicle, and it remained parked in the driveway of the house.

“There’s no one area to pinpoint because we don’t know where they might have gone,” Sanford said, calling it one of the strangest cases he has ever seen.

Both men were expected to head to their home states for the holidays.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kennebunkport Police Department at 207-967-2454.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec242012

Yacht School Friends Missing Without a Trace

Kennebunkport Police Dept.(KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine) -- The disappearance of two friends has baffled authorities, who have searched by air, water and in wooded areas for the men, who seemed to have disappeared without a trace.

Zachary Wells, 21, and Prescott Wright, 23, were last seen hanging out at home in Kennebunkport, Maine, on Thursday, police chief Craig Sanford told ABC News affiliate WMTW-TV.

Both men are students at The Landing School in Arundel, Maine, where they were learning boat building and yacht design.

When the men failed to show up for classes on Thursday and Friday, administrators at the school contacted police.

Authorities found no signs of a disturbance at the home, Sanford said, and searches of the nearby area did not turn up any clues.  Only one of the men owns a vehicle, and it remained parked in the driveway of the house, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.

“There’s no one area to pinpoint because we don’t know where they might have gone,” Sanford said, calling it one of the strangest cases he has ever seen.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kennebunkport Police Department at 207-967-2454.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Zumba Sex Scandal: Former Maine Mayor Named as Alleged Client

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KENNEBUNK, Maine) -- A former mayor of South Portland, Maine, is among the 21 men accused of paying for sex at a Maine Zumba studio run by instructor Alexis Wright, who has been charged with operating a prostitution ring out of her dance studio.

James Soule, 58, served as mayor of the town near the Kennebunk studio in 2008.  Soule, who is facing a misdemeanor soliciting charge, has not responded to requests for comment.

In a scathing statement overnight, Mark Strong, the man accused of booking clients at the Pura Vida Studio owned by Wright, 29, lashed out at investigators, accusing the Kennebunk police department of retaliation and unprofessional conduct.  Strong has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.

"I never had sex with [Wright] for money," Strong wrote in a statement.  "The charges against me are untrue.  I will be vindicated in a jury trial."

Strong, 57, says he met Wright online and soon developed a personal relationship in which he helped her start a "legitimate business."

Police say Strong helped run Wright's alleged side prostitution business and helped video-tape her clients.  Prosecutors say they have 100 hours of video evidence.

Strong, an insurance agent, says he's also a private investigator, and that he began investigating Kennebunk police because the department was harassing Wright.

"The Kennebunk police department seized my computer, which contains multiple interviews of witnesses in that investigation," Strong wrote in his statement.

Police have not responded to inquiries about Strong's allegations.

Daniel G. Lilley, the attorney representing Strong, defended his client.

"From what he says, he's a good guy caught up in a bad situation," Lilley said.  "I think if you look at the theory that he was delving into their privacy, if that's true and its retaliation, then the answer's yes.  If not, then I don't know why they singled him out."

As the scandal unravels, there has been more fallout in the Maine vacation town after the release of a list of some of Wright's more than 100 alleged clients, which reportedly includes a lawyer, a forester and a real estate appraiser.

So far, 21 men have been charged with engaging in prostitution and have been summoned to appear in court.  They are among the more than 150 men -- and reportedly one woman -- who are being investigated.

A Maine judge on Tuesday cleared the way for police to release the ages and addresses of the first 21 names on the list.  Their ages range from 34 to 65, and most live in Maine, one in New Hampshire and one in Boston.

The 21 men have been summoned to appear in court on Dec. 5.  The full list can be seen here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct162012

Police Release 21 Names in Maine Zumba Sex Scandal

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KENNEBUNK, Maine) -- Police have released the names of 21 men accused of paying for sex with a Maine Zumba instructor who has been charged with running a prostitution ring out of her dance studio.

The 21 men are charged with engaging in prostitution and have been summoned to appear in court in December.  They are among the more than 150 men -- and reportedly one woman -- who are being investigated.  Police say they were clients of fitness instructor Alexis Wright, 29, who has been charged with 106 counts related to her alleged prostitution ring in Kennebunk.

It's unclear when the other names will be released.

ABC News has not confirmed the full list of names that does not include ages and addresses for the alleged clients.  But two of the men on the list confirmed that they have been charged.

One of the men told ABC News that he made a mistake and is prepared to pay the consequences.  Another alleged client of Wright's said, "We will be exonerated."

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren denied a motion on Monday to block the list of names filed by an attorney for two of the alleged clients, who argued it would be a "harm to their personal reputations as private citizens, their professional reputations, and their professional relationships."

Wright refused to answer questions outside of court on Oct. 9 after pleading not guilty to 106 counts, including prostitution and invasion of privacy.

"I think it's fair to say that she wished the names didn't come out," Wright's attorney Sarah Churchill said.  "It's been tough.  There's been a lot of scrutiny on her.  Getting through the day in any sort of normal way has been sort of difficult."

Wright's alleged accomplice, 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator Mark Strong, has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.  Police say Strong was in charge of booking Wright's alleged clients at her Pura Vida Studio.

Prosecutors say Wright recorded some of her alleged encounters with the men, and say they have 100 hours of video evidence.

Strong's lawyer, Dan Lilley, welcomes the release of the names.

"I think the courts in Maine have been quite transparent in these kinds of cases, and it's usually disclosed to the public," he said.  "I don't think it should be held back in this case."

There is speculation that the list contains the names of well-known locals, including prominent politicians, lawyers and law enforcement officers who allegedly frequented the brothel.

The 21 men have been summoned to appear in court on Dec. 5.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct122012

Zumba Sex Scandal: Judge Will Not Block Release of Client List

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Maine) -- A state judge in Kennebunk, Maine, decided Friday not to block the release of over 100 alleged clients of Alexis Wright, the 29-year-old Zumba instructor who is accused of running a prostitution ring out of her dance studio.

Police were prepared to reveal the first batch of identities of Wright's alleged clients, which normally would be made public in police activity reports released every other week. But on Thursday, defense attorneys representing some of the alleged clients asked a judge to block their release.

District Judge Andre Janelle quickly rejected their motion for a restraining order and a preliminary injunction, which he filed early Friday.

Stephen Schwartz, an attorney for the alleged clients, filed an appeal on Judge Janelle's decision, and that will be sent to the state Supreme Court.

There is speculation that the list contains the names of well-known locals, including prominent politicians, lawyers and law enforcement officers who allegedly frequented the brothel investigators say was run out of Wright's Pura Vida Studio. Wright allegedly had a video camera set up in the room to film the acts as well.

Based on information found during a search of the studio, police began issuing summonses to the alleged johns on misdemeanor charges of engaging a prostitute. As many as 45 men on the list have already been summoned.

Stephen Schwartz, an attorney for the alleged clients, said Thursday that releasing their names would harm the character of a number of the accused, which reportedly might include prominent politicians, attorneys and others.

"Releasing the list has the power to really destroy reputations," Schwartz said.

Wright, 29, refused to answer questions outside of court Tuesday after pleading not guilty to 106 counts including prostitution and invasion of privacy.

Police say that Mark Strong, 57, was in charge of booking Wright's alleged clients. Strong has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.

Strong's lawyer, Daniel Lilley, admits that there is a list, but says his client had nothing to do with it.

"I'm told that there are police officers and firemen and accountants and TV personalities and lawyers," Lilley said. "It runs the gamut of Americana, I guess."

Bee Nguyen, the landlord for Wright's studio, called police after hearing unusual sounds coming from her office and seeing strange men come and go, according to court documents.

"I thought she was a little, not risqué, but a little flirtatious at times with a couple of the male participants in the class," Kennebunk resident Allison Ackley said.

Some men allegedly paid large sums of money for Wright's services.

"There's a separate list with names and certain codes that would seem to reflect sexual acts and amounts, attorney Lilly said."One case, I think the amount was $1,500."

Prosecutors say Wright recorded some of her encounters with the men, and say they have 100 hours of video evidence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct122012

Attorneys Say Zumba Instructor's Client List Will 'Destroy Reputations'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KENNEBUNK, Maine) -- Defense attorneys representing some of the more than 100 alleged clients of Alexis Wright, who is accused of running a prostitution ring out of her Maine dance studio, have asked a judge to block the release of their names.

Stephen Schwartz, an attorney for the alleged clients, said on Thursday that releasing their names would harm the character of a number of the accused, which supposedly includes 100 to 150 prominent politicians, attorneys and others.

"Releasing the list has the power to really destroy reputations," Schwartz said.

Wright, 29, a Zumba dance instructor in Kennebunk, Maine, refused to answer questions outside of court Tuesday after pleading not guilty to 106 counts, including prostitution and invasion of privacy.

As many as 45 men on the list have already been summoned.  Police say that Mark Strong, 57, was in charge of booking Wright's alleged clients.

Strong's lawyer, Daniel Lilley, admits that there is a list, but says his client had nothing to do with it.

"I'm told that there are police officers and firemen and accountants and TV personalities and lawyers," Lilley said.  "It runs the gamut of Americana, I guess."

Bee Nguyen, the landlord for Wright's studio, called police after hearing unusual sounds coming from her office and seeing strange men come and go, according to court documents.

"I thought she was a little, not risqué, but a little flirtatious at times with a couple of the male participants in the class," Kennebunk resident Allison Ackley said.

Some men allegedly paid large sums of money for Wright's services.

"There's a separate list with names and certain codes that would seem to reflect sexual acts and amounts," Lilley said.  "One case, I think the amount was $1,500."

Prosecutors say Wright recorded some of her encounters with the men, and say they have 100 hours of video evidence, which many people fear could ruin lives.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio