Clues still scarce in slaying of Woodland man

Posted Nov. 26, 2008, at 8:54 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:06 a.m.

WOODLAND, Maine — Police have evidence and a possible motive in the shooting death of a local man earlier this year, and the victim’s family has posted a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

But investigators in Aroostook County said earlier this week that they still have little information to help them solve the February slaying of Darrell Smith.

Smith, 56, was found dead inside the workshop next to his home on Thomas Road in Woodland on the evening of Feb. 6.

Smith owned and operated Smith’s Sawmill and Logging. State police said Smith was shot to death during the early afternoon hours and they believe robbery may have been the motive. The victim’s wallet remains unaccounted for and a safe was discovered missing from the residence.

Police have leads in the case, state police Detective Sgt. John Cote said Monday, and they continue to work the case “every day.”

In the weeks after the killing, investigators asked for the public’s help to locate 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 Smith family subsequently posted a $30,000 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of Smith’s killer.

Thus far, however, it has yielded no new clues, Cote said on Monday.

Investigators continue to probe whether several safe burglaries that have taken place in Aroostook County between August 2006 and February 2008 may be linked to the crime. They also are exploring whether a recent string of burglaries could be connected to Smith’s death.

At the state police barracks in Houlton, detectives who are working on the case have created a map pinpointing 23 events — including Smith’s death — in which safes, guns, money and other items were taken in residential burglaries.

The crimes have taken place in locations spanning from Madawaska to Reed Plantation.

Cote said most of the crimes have taken place when people were not at home. People have simply arrived back home to discover they have been robbed, he said.

In the Smith case, investigators believe the killer was someone who had some knowledge of the mill, as it resembles a private residence.

Smith had no enemies, according to police, and was a “well-liked, hardworking” man. His family members and those close to him have been eliminated as suspects, he added.

In recent months, several more burglaries have taken place at town offices in Aroostook County, including locations spanning from Crystal to New Canada.

In those cases, one or more individuals have targeted the offices and other businesses by gaining entry through rear windows in an attempt to steal cash. Earlier this month, the Weston town office became the sixth town office to be broken into in recent weeks, according to police.

Thieves entered the office through the adjoining fire department and broke open a large safe and some filing cabinets, stealing several thousand dollars.

Cote said investigators are considering whether or not the recent burglaries are linked to the safe burglary spree and the Smith case.

Anyone who has information about the Smith case is asked to call the state police barracks at 800-924-2261 or Aroostook County Crime Stoppers at 800-638-8477.

jlbdn@ainop.com

532-6567

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