WALDOBORO, Maine — The brutal stabbing attack that took the life of a Waldoboro woman and critically injured another on April 19 also tore apart the town’s sense of peace, security and safety, said people at a community gathering Friday evening.
The Waldoboro United Methodist Church’s “Sharing Time for a Troubled Community” aimed to help heal that rent.
“Everybody knows everybody else in a small town,” said Jean Lawrence of Waldoboro, who taught in the community for 41 years. “Because we’re such a small and rural community, it has had a great impact, especially on the children. We said, ‘We need to do something.’”
Lawrence moved around the dim church lighting candles as a group of about 28 people spoke of their fears and their hopes in the wake of the murder.
Rachel Grindal, 27, was killed when, police believe, she and two other women interrupted a burglary at a home on Controversy Lane. Grindal’s friend 32-year-old Tracey Neild was stabbed in the throat during the attack and may have lost the ability to speak, according to Wayne Brown, Neild’s employer and landlord. The third woman, Shantelle Quint, was not stabbed. Police said she ran to a neighbor’s house for help.
The crime unsettled the community, and some people at the church Friday evening said they felt heartsick over the 4-year-old son Grindal left behind.
When police arrested Earl “Buddy” Bieler and Corina Durkee and charged them both with murder, attempted murder and burglary on April 23, that news also felt too close to home for comfort. Bieler, 24, and Durkee, 42, live in Waldoboro. They attended schools here and people know them and their families, said the Rev. Beverly Blaisdell.
“The [alleged] offenders are people who are also in our community,” she said. “I guess that’s part of why this one stings.”
Although no members of the immediate families or close friends of the victims — or accused perpetrators — appeared to have attended Friday night’s gathering, teachers and staff from the town’s schools and other concerned community members were there.
Shirley Herron of Waldoboro brought her young son and his friend to the service. Herron works in the school system and came, she said, “because so many times the community does not reach out when something tragic happens. And some of the children are hurting so much.”
The evening was facilitated by John Parkman, a guidance counselor at Camden Hills Regional High School and the former director of guidance at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro.
“This is a community I know,” he said after the session. “We talked about reaching out to the community to people who are hurting.”
Parkman gave specific tips, including urging people to offer support to those who are grieving. Meaningful gestures can be small and concrete, he said, such as providing meals or help with the care of children or pets. Others might be as simple as letting someone know it’s OK to be sad and express the feelings, which will “allow them to grieve naturally.”
“We are creatures of social needs, particularly when we’re hurting,” Parkman said. “Be accessible, get on the phone, get in the car. You don’t want to isolate.”
At the end of the gathering, Blaisdell gestured at the votive candles as their flames flickered on an altar.
“Whatever fear or loss or hope represented here is in these lights and in our hearts,” she said. “There’s a lot of power here. There’s a lot of love among us.”
She closed by reading the Peace Prayer, which she said Mother Teresa helped to popularize during the 1970s.
“Let peace fill our hearts, our community, our world,” Blaisdell read from the prayer. “May peace fill our universe.”