HAMPDEN, Maine — Hampden police have charged a Newburgh man with furnishing drugs to minors and a place for minors to consume alcohol as the result of an investigation into the death of 17-year-old Nathan Clark of Hampden.
Michael Joseph Fortunato, 44, was summoned Monday evening on two counts of aggravated furnishing of Schedule Z drugs, namely prescription muscle relaxers and marijuana, Hampden police Cpl. Chris Bailey said Tuesday in an interview at the Hampden Public Safety complex.
If convicted of the Class C felony charges, Fortunato faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, Bailey said.
In addition to the drug charges, Fortunato also was charged with providing a place for minors to consume alcohol and he might be charged with furnishing alcohol at a later time, Bailey said.
The Hampden officer said the charges lodged against Fortunato are not directly connected with the cause of Clark’s death.
“It’s premature to make that leap at this time,” he said.
Bailey stressed that other charges could be filed, however, once the case is presented to a grand jury or once the results of an autopsy conducted on Clark by the state medical examiner’s office become available.
The autopsy report won’t be released until the arrival of results of toxicology tests, which are processed out of state, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said last week.
According to Bailey, the charges filed Monday stem from a gathering on Saturday, March 21, at Fortunato’s home that Clark and an undisclosed number of other juveniles attended.
Clark was reported missing by his father about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22, after he failed to return home that night, according to police.
The teenager reportedly got upset Sunday afternoon and fled into the woods from a house he was visiting in Hampden, according to initial reports.
Word that the teen was missing triggered a series of searches by local police and fire personnel, state police and members of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, as well as search dogs. Clark’s friends and family also conducted searches.
Clark’s body was found five days after he went missing by a state game warden and a tracking dog near a gravel pit off Back Winterport Road.
Word of Clark’s death saddened and shocked the community. It also triggered an investigation and gave rise to rumors and accusations about what caused or ultimately led to his death.
Information regarding the Clark and Fortunato cases has been turned over to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office, Bailey said Tuesday.
He said that Fortunato is scheduled to appear in Penobscot County Superior Court in Bangor on June 26.