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Entries in Maine (40)

Wednesday
Oct102012

Zumba Instructor Denies Using Her Gym for Prostitution

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KENNEBUNK, Maine) -- A Zumba instructor in the seaside resort town of Kennebunk, Maine, is fighting charges that she used her workout studio as a brothel that attracted an alleged client list that includes area mayors, a lawyer involved in the case said.

Alexis Wright, 29, and her friend and former business partner, Mark Strong, 57, both pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of prostitution and promoting prostitution, respectively.

According to an indictment filed last month in York County, Wright was using her Zumba gym, Pura Vida Studio, to have sex with men in exchange for money, ABC News affiliate WMTW reported. She allegedly had a video camera set up in the room to film the acts as well.

Strong was charged with promoting prostitution as well invasion of privacy for his role in setting up the camera and connecting it to the Internet to record individuals without their knowledge, according to WMTW's reports.

Wright's attorney did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday.

Daniel Lilley, Strong's attorney, says his client denies any involvement in a prostitution business. Strong loaned Wright money to start her Zumba studio, money that she repaid him completely, Lilley said.

Police say they have more than 100 hours of video from their investigation into the alleged brothel, and have confiscated an alleged client list containing more than 100 names.

Lilley said he has not seen the video, hard drives, or images taken from his client's home and business and allegedly used in the case. He has seen the list of names of "patrons," he said, whose titles include multiple mayors, attorneys, and prominent local figures, but no national figures.

"The Bushes aren't on the list, since I've already been asked that," Lilley said, referring to the family of president George H. Bush and George W. Bush, who have a vacation home in neighboring Kennebunkport.

The list of men who allegedly came to Wright for sex could be released to the public, according to a ruling Tuesday by a judge in the case, WMTW reported.

Justice Nancy Mills refused a motion by the state to seal the client list. Lilley said he would not release the list out of concern for the wives and children of the clients, and did not know if another attorney would.

The clients are now being interviewed by police about their involvement, Lilley said.

"I think there's a lot of people talking and probably some people that are sweating bullets about that list that may or may not come out," Kennebunk resident Brian O'Donnell told ABC News.

The Attorney General's office, which is handling the prosecution, also did not return calls.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

Maine Man Accused of Lying About Drug Use to Amass Weapons Arsenal

Handout Photo(BIDDEFORD, Maine) -- A Biddeford, Maine, man who was arrested after a Maine State Trooper clocked his Ford Mustang going 112 mph on the Maine Turnpike, allegedly had a small arsenal in his car and told police he had attended a Saturday screening of The Dark Knight Rises with a gun in his bag and was on his way to kill his former boss.

Timothy Courtois, who was arrested Sunday by a Maine State Trooper, allegedly had an AK-47, a 12-gauge shotgun, four handguns and several boxes of ammunition and a small amount of synthetic marijuana in his car. According to Maine State Police, Courtois also had news articles in his car about the Friday shooting in Aurora, Colo., in which 12 people were killed and 58 wounded.

Courtois allegedly told police that he attended the Saturday night showing of the new Batman movie at the Cinemagic Theater in Saco, Maine, with a loaded gun in his backpack. Police said Courtois allegedly told them that when he was arrested he was traveling to Derry, N.H., to shoot his former boss.

Given the firearms in the car, Maine State Police contacted the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives to assist with the investigation. When Main State Police and investigators conducted a search of his apartment they allegedly found additional firearms including a DPMS/Panther Arms, Model A-15, .223 caliber rifle, a gun similar to the AR-15 carried by alleged Colorado shooter James Holmes.

Police also found thousands of rounds of ammunition and a synthetic form of marijuana called K2 or Spice, which recently became a controlled substance.

Courtois allegedly purchased the .223 rifle on Friday at a sporting goods store in Scarborough, Maine, but according to an ATF affidavit in the case, Courtois lied on the paperwork when he asserted that he was not an unlawful user of drugs or addicted to drugs.

Courtois was charged in a criminal complaint Tuesday with one count of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm and two counts of possession of firearms by an unlawful user of controlled substances.

According to the ATF affidavit filed in federal court, Courtois agreed to be interviewed by investigators from the Maine State Police and an ATF and FBI agent. During the interview, Courtois allegedly admitted the firearms were all his.

Courtois also allegedly discussed his use of marijuana and K2 with the investigators and allegedly asked the officers and agents for drugs.

“Several times during the interview Courtois asked us if we could get him some weed so he could smoke weed and eat Chinese food,” the ATF affidavit said.

A review of the federal court docket did not indicate if Courtois had a defense attorney assigned to represent him. If convicted of all the federal charges, Courtois faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Seven Injured After Fire Aboard Nuclear Sub in Maine

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jhi L. Scott(KITTERY, Maine) -- Seven people were injured Wednesday evening after a fire broke out aboard a nuclear-powered submarine docked at a shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard around 5:41 p.m., the U.S. Navy said in a statement.  The fire broke out in the forward compartment of the USS Miami, which houses crew living areas and command and control spaces, and did not pose any nuclear danger.

"The ship's reactor was not operating and remains in a safe and stable condition as it has been throughout the event," Capt. Bryant Fuller, the shipyard commander, told reporters Wednesday night.

All personnel have been accounted for, according to the Navy.  Those wounded -- three Portsmouth Naval Shipyard firefighters, two ships force crew members, and two civilian firefighters -- were all treated for minor injures and have been released, Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge announced at a press conference Thursday morning.

Fuller said a full investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire.

The shipyard is expected to remain open for work on Thursday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

Missing Harvard MBA Student Found Dead

Portland Police Dept.(PORTLAND, Maine) -- The body of a missing Harvard Business School student who was last seen outside a waterfront bar in Portland, Maine, days before his graduation, was recovered Tuesday from the city's harbor, police said.

Around noon Tuesday, police found the body of Nathan Bihlmaier, 31, who on Thursday would have received his MBA and in June would have become a father for the first time. Bihlmaier was last seen early Sunday morning after drinking with friends at an Irish Pub near the harbor.

Bihlmaier, police said, asked to leave the Ri Ra pub around 12:20 a.m. Sunday after becoming intoxicated and rowdy. He soon became separated from his friends and didn't return to his hotel.

The two friends with whom he was celebrating their graduation reported him missing Sunday.

Cell phone records indicated he had not traveled far from the bar, police said.

The discovery of the body ends a three-day search, much of which was conducted underwater by local, state and federal authorities. Authorities employed skilled divers and cadaver-sniffing dogs on inflatable rafts.

On Monday police found an article of clothing in an outlet of the harbor, which they confirmed belonged to Bihlmaier.

Bihlmaier, a native of Osborne, Kan., is survived by his wife, who is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Bihlmaier had recently accepted a job at a health care company and was "thrilled about the prospect of being a dad," said Brian Kenny, Harvard Business School spokesman.

Police told the Boston Herald that there was no indication of foul play and the body would be autopsied to determine the cause of death.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

Harvard Business School Student Goes Missing in Maine

Portland Police Department(PORTLAND, Maine) -- Police in Portland, Maine, are searching for a Harvard Business School student who has been missing since early Sunday morning after spending Saturday night in the Old Port area of town, ABC News affiliate WMTW-TV in Portland reports.

Nathan Bihlmaier, 31, had traveled to Portland from Cambridge, Mass., with two friends to celebrate his upcoming graduation from Harvard Business School, which is scheduled for Thursday.  After separating from his friends at the RiRa Irish Pub around closing time at 1 a.m. Sunday, Bihlmaier was not seen again, according to The Portland Press Herald.

Police said in a news conference Monday that dive teams had found an article of clothing while searching the water in the area near RiRa, but did not confirm what the item was or whether it belonged to Bihlmaier, Harvard Business School spokesman Brian Kenny said.

Kenny drove from Cambridge to Portland to help investigators with their search, along with more than a dozen of Bihlmaier's classmates and Bihlmaier's wife of one and a half years, Nancy Ho Bihlmaier, who is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Kenny said Bihlmaier's parents flew to Portland from their home in Kansas, and the entire group posted flyers around town with the hopes that local residents might have seen Bihlmaier.

"We are trying to be optimistic and hope for the best possible outcome, and that would be that Nate and Nancy are at commencement on Thursday," Kenny said.

Bihlmaier had been asked to leave the bar because he was intoxicated, but his friends didn't see him leave and tried to reach him on his cellphone, police said, according to WMTW.  Based on their phone conversations with him, Bihlmaier's friends believed he was lost.

"He was saying, 'I am in front of this building right now,' which is not uncommon for somebody that may be in fact lost to give a landmark in hopes somebody else can pin-point that," Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck told WMTW.

His friends returned to their hotel room, assuming Bihlmaier would eventually appear, but called the police hours later when he hadn't returned, according to the Press Herald.

On Sunday, police tracked Bihlmaier's cellphone transmissions and found that he had remained within the Old Port area, but his phone battery died about 40 minutes after he left the bar, the newspaper reported.

Police, dive teams and the Coast Guard will continue to search the area where the clothing was found, Kenny said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr282012

Missing Maine Toddler Ayla Reynolds: Police Investigate Items Found in River

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Police investigating the disappearance of Ayla Reynolds are analyzing objects found in the Kennebec River in Waterville, Maine, but have not said whether they are related to the missing toddler, who vanished from her father’s home on Dec. 17, 2011, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB.

Waterville Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland told the Morning Sentinel that police do not know whether the items, which were found Wednesday, are connected to the case of the missing toddler, who turned 2 years old on April 4.

“Some items were recovered from the Kennebec River yesterday,” McCausland told the Morning Sentinel Thursday. “The items have been taken to the state police crime laboratory for analysis.”

In late March, after the winter snow melted, Maine police intensified their search for the toddler. Organizers implored landowners in the area to watch for anything unusual on their property that could be related to the case.

Ayla’s’ father, Justin DiPietro, told police in December that he believed his daughter was snatched from the bedroom of their Waterville home between her 8 p.m. bedtime on Dec. 17 and when he checked her bedroom in the morning.

Within days what began as the search for a missing child turned into a criminal probe, after investigators discovered blood in the basement of the home.

“What [police] were unwilling to confirm to the press, but left to our discretion, is that it has already been determined to be Ayla’s blood,” the family said in a statement. “Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us. We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth.”

DiPietro, 24, and Trista Reynolds, 23, Ayla’s mother, who does not live in the home and was forced by Child Protective Services to place Ayla in DiPietro’s full-time care when she checked into rehab, have taken police-administered lie-detector tests.

Reynolds told WCVB that the test administrator concluded that she could not complete the test because of a medical condition.

DiPietro has said publicly that he passed the test, though Maine State Police would not comment on his claim.

Reynolds previously alleged that her daughter was bruised the last time she saw her, though DiPietro countered that those claims amounted to “accusation and insinuations.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar022012

Jerry Perdomo Murder Suspect Appears In Maine Court

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Daniel Porter, the man accused of killing a Florida firefighter in a drug money dispute, made his first court appearance Friday, claiming he acted in self defense.

"Mr. Perdomo made threats both verbal and with the firearm to Mr. Porter, which caused him fear that Mr. Perdomo was going to carry out those threats against him or others," Porter's attorney, Jeff Silverstein, told ABC News. "Mr. Porter felt compelled to act in the way that he did as a result of that conduct."

Porter was denied bond and was not asked to enter a plea Friday in Maine's Waldo County Superior Court.

Perdomo's body was recovered from a wooded area in Maine on Wednesday, one day after Porter was arrested.

The two men had disputes in the past, according to a police affidavit. Perdomo, who was last seen on Feb. 16, was meeting with Porter to collect on a $3,000 drug debt.

Silverstein said his client acted in self defense because he believed Perdomo would hurt him or others.

A Maine game warden and his dog found Perdomo's body at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on land owned by suspect Daniel Porter's relatives, state police said.

Maine State Police, assisted by Bangor Police, arrested Porter Tuesday at a home in Jackson, Maine, that was rented by Porter's father, according to a news release by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Porter, 24, and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, are believed to be the last people who saw Perdomo, a husband and father of two, who went missing 15 days ago shortly after he traveled in a rental car up the East Coast to visit a friend.

Police had been testing evidence removed Saturday from the house in Jackson, believed to be the last place Perdomo was seen, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Body Believed to Be Missing Florida Firefighter

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A body believed to be missing Florida firefighter Jerry Perdomo was recovered from a wooded area in Maine on Wednesday, one day after a suspect in his death was arrested.

"The State Medical Examiner's Office has just arrived at the scene and additional information will be released this afternoon," a statement released by the Maine Department of Public Safety said.

A news conference is expected to be held by police.

Daniel Porter, 24, and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, are believed to be the last people who saw Perdomo, a husband and father of two who went missing 13 days ago shortly after he traveled in a rental car up the East Coast to visit a friend.

Maine State Police, assisted by Bangor Police, arrested Porter Tuesday at a home in Jackson, Maine, that was rented by Porter's father, according to a news release by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Police had been testing evidence removed Saturday from the house in Jackson, believed to be the last place Perdomo was seen, according to the Department of Public Safety.

A friend of Perdomo's told Orlando, Fla., ABC affiliate WFTV that Perdomo went to Bangor, Maine, to sell prescription pills, and that he'd mentioned someone named "Daniel" previously.

Perdomo's family told WFTV that the firefighter had never used or sold drugs.

His wife, Tonya, acknowledged that her husband, whose rental car was found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot Feb. 16, made the 1,600-mile trip from Florida to Maine to visit another woman.

WESH-TV interviewed a woman, only identified as Lisa, who said she was the friend Perdomo was visiting. The woman said Perdomo stepped out the evening he disappeared to visit another friend, and said he would return shortly to take her to dinner, but never came back.

Porter and Nowak, 23, reportedly left town after Perdomo's disappearance. The couple bought a used car and abandoned the one they had been driving at the dealership, saying they had to leave town quickly because of an emergency.

Police tracked the couple down at Porter's mother's house in Connecticut Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Missing Florida Firefighter: Suspect Charged with Murder

Comstock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Maine) -- The man identified as a person interest in the disappearance of Florida firefighter Jerry Perdomo was arrested and charged with murder on Tuesday, Maine State Police said.

Daniel Porter, 24, and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, are believed to be the last people who saw Perdomo, a husband and father of two who went missing 13 days ago shortly after he traveled in a rental car up the East Coast to visit a friend.

Maine State Police, assisted by Bangor Police, arrested Porter on Tuesday at a home in Jackson, Maine, that was rented by Porter's father, according to a news release by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Police had been testing evidence removed Saturday from the house, believed to be the last place Perdomo was seen, according to the Department of Public Safety.

"The work being done at the lab will hopefully give us some of the answers to our questions," Christopher Coleman of the Maine State Police said.  "At this point, we remain hopeful, but as days go on, we have to be realistic.  We do suspect foul play was involved."

A friend of Perdomo's told Orlando, Fla., ABC affiliate WFTV that Perdomo went to Bangor, Maine, to sell prescription pills, and that he'd mentioned someone named "Daniel" previously.

Perdomo's family told WFTV the firefighter has never used or sold drugs.  His wife, Tonya Perdomo, is pleading for her husband's safe return.

"I love him.  He is my only love, he is my only love," she said at a news conference Monday.  "I just want to talk to him.  I just feel like I need to talk to him. I do."

Tonya Perdomo acknowledged that her husband, whose rental car was found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot on Feb. 16, made the 1,600-mile trip from Florida to Maine to visit another woman.

"I knew that he had a friend, but he has female friends.  I can't comment on the extent of their relationship because I don't know," she said.  "My understanding is that he was going to help someone.  It would not have been unusual for him to go and help someone because that's what he always did."

WESH-TV interviewed a woman, only identified as Lisa, who said she was the friend Perdomo was visiting.  The woman said Perdomo stepped out the evening he disappeared to visit another friend, and said he would return shortly to take her to dinner, but never came back.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Missing Florida Firefighter: Person of Interest Named

Comstock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Maine) -- Police in Maine who say they suspect foul play in the disappearance of Florida firefighter Jerry Perdomo have named Daniel Porter a person of interest.

Porter, 24, and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, are believed to be the last people who saw Perdomo, a husband and father of two who went missing 12 days ago shortly after he traveled in a rental car up the East Coast to visit a friend.

Police are now testing evidence removed Saturday from the Jackson, Maine house where Porter's father lives, and is believed to be the last place Perdomo was seen, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

"The work being done at the lab will hopefully give us some of the answers to our questions," Christopher Coleman of the Maine state police said.  "At this point we remain hopeful, but as days go on, we have to be realistic.  We do suspect foul play was involved."

A friend of Perdomo's told ABC news affiliate WFTV in Orlando, Fla. that Perdomo went to Bangor, Maine to sell prescription pills, and that he'd mentioned someone named "Daniel" previously.

Perdomo's family told WFTV that he has never used or sold drugs.  His wife, Tonya Perdomo, is pleading for her husband's safe return.

"I love him.  He is my only love, he is my only love," she said in a news conference Monday.  "I just want to talk to him, I just feel like I need to talk to him.  I do."

Tonya Perdomo acknowledged that her husband, whose rental car was found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot on Feb. 16, made the 1,600 mile trek from Florida to Maine to visit another woman.

"I knew that he had a friend, but he has female friends.  I can't comment on the extent of their relationship because I don't know," she said.  "My understanding is that he was going to help someone.  It would not have been unusual for him to go and help someone because that's what he always did."

WESH-TV interviewed a woman who was only identified as Lisa, who said she was the friend Perdomo was visiting.  The woman said Perdomo stepped out the evening he disappeared to visit another friend, and had said he would return shortly to take her to dinner, but never came back.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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