Brutal stabbing in Waldoboro kills one, injures one

Posted April 20, 2009, at 8:52 p.m.

WALDOBORO, Maine — A local woman was killed and another critically injured Sunday night in a stabbing attack outside the home of the injured woman on Controversy Lane, according to police.

Rachel Grindal, 27, of Waldoboro was killed and Tracey Neild, 32, of Waldoboro was in critical condition, Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Monday. A third woman, who was not named, escaped to call a neighbor.

“This was not a random act,” McCausland said Monday evening. “All the players knew each other.”

No one had been arrested Monday night, but police believed they had identified everyone involved, McCausland said. He offered few details and would not comment about possible motives.

“We do hope to resolve this as soon as we can,” McCausland said.

The events unfolded just before 10 p.m. Sunday on Controversy Lane as the three women drove in the driveway to Neild’s mobile home in a white van driven by Grindal. Just after they pulled in, the women were attacked and stabbed, police officials said.

After Waldoboro police and other emergency personnel arrived, Neild was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, according to McCausland. Efforts Monday night to confirm Neild’s condition at the hospital were unsuccessful.

Grindal’s body stayed in the driver’s seat of the van overnight while officials investigated the brutal attack. Members of the Maine State Police, Waldoboro Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office worked through the night at the crime scene.

The tarp-covered van with the body still in it was taken away Monday on a flatbed truck to the Maine State Police crime lab in Augusta.

On Monday afternoon, Neild’s white trailer looked tidy but desolate off the deeply rutted dirt road called Controversy Lane. A van from the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation Division idled in the driveway, and a police officer guarded the home. Bales of hay were pushed up against the base of the trailer, and a fenced-off dog area to one side seemed to be empty.

Two other houses were in sight of the trailer, but the residents of these homes chose not to speak with a reporter.

Rick Austin, a neighbor who lives on Sunset Road, another dirt road in the neighborhood, said his cousin had heard on the police scanner that something bad was happening on Controversy Lane. Austin went to check it out and what he found shook him up.

“I saw the dead girl behind the wheel of her vehicle, with a lot of blood,” he said. “Tracey was lying in a pile of blood in the driveway. I never expected anything like this to happen in Waldoboro, much less on this road.”

His wife, Vicky Austin, said she feels less safe now in her own home.

“I have two kids. I don’t know if I want my kids to be outside,” she said.

The Austins have lived in the neighborhood about two years, they said. They know Tracey Neild, and have noticed a lot of traffic going in and out of her home.

Rick Austin said he also knew Grindal, whom he met in Portland about seven years ago when they were both in rehabilitation for substance abuse problems.

“Regardless of her lifestyle, she didn’t deserve to die,” Rick Austin said.

Grindal has a preschool-age child, he said.

Wayne Brown of Nobleboro is Neild’s landlord, and he said he has employed her for about four years. Neild helps on his farm and also helps him build houses, Brown said.

“I’ve never had a better employee than her,” Brown said. “I’ve had to sort of be a dad to her. She’s made poor choices when she has idle time.”

News of the attack spread quickly throughout Waldoboro, a community of about 5,100 people. A woman working the counter at Goodnow’s Variety said, “Everybody’s talking about it.”

Skip Bowman was helping his grandson work on lobster traps in front of his North Nobleboro Road home. He said he didn’t know the women who were attacked, but that the murder was on his mind.

“I’d never thought the state of Maine would be like this,” Bowman said. “I never thought this town would go this way. We never used to lock our doors, never took the keys out of the car, nothing.”

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